Riders with takeaway service Deliveroo are striking over new arrangements they say will lead to a decrease in their wages.

Around 50 Deliveroo riders gathered outside the company’s offices on Jervois Street, Sheung Wan on Monday afternoon. Sources cited by Apple Daily said that there are around 100 taking part in the strike. Most of them work in the Hong Kong Island area.

A Deliveroo spokesperson told HKFP on Tuesday afternoon that “The Deliveroo team, led by the General Manager, Brian Lo, is in dialogue with riders and is working closely with them to address their feedback and to resolve the issue at the earliest possible.”

Photo: In-Media.

A rider told Apple Daily that they are self-employed and earned around HK$75 an hour under the previous system, regardless of the number of orders they took. However, a new electronic tool places a limit on the number of workers on the roster during non-peak hours, meaning that the hours they can work – and subsequently the wages they can earn – will decrease, according to the rider.

A worker also told HK01 that the company does not provide riders with vehicles needed for delivery and they are required to pay for maintenance and petrol themselves. The strike continued on Tuesday.

Photo: In-Media.

Deliveroo users seeking food delivery to the Sheung Wan area on Tuesday afternoon are greeted with the message: “We’re experiencing service disruption and are unable to take any orders in your area right now. We apologize for any inconvenience caused and will be back with you shortly.”

Deliveroo’s service disruption message.

Over the weekend, Deliveroo workers in Belgium and the Netherlands went on strike protesting the company’s refusal to delay a decision that will treat all workers as self-employed starting February, the Telegraph reported. Deliveroo riders in the UK also went on strike in 2016.

‘A step forward’

A Deliveroo spokesperson said in a reply to HKFP that they recently introduced a new tool aimed at “better matching the riders’ preferred working hours with customer demand.”

This tool gives riders the ability to choose when and where to work, which increases their certainty over earnings,” the company said.

Deliveroo also said that they have experienced a tremendous growth within their rider fleet since launching in November 2015 and they are confident that the new tool, which worked well in other markets, “is a step forward in Hong Kong.”

Deliveroo’s Brain Lo. File

Deliveroo said that, according to its data, “the number of working hours that riders got allocated through the new availability tool is at the same level as what they indicated through the tool.”

“Some riders’ working hours have even gone up, compared to the record in early January before the introduction of the new availability tool, unless they indicated a different availability for work,” the spokesperson added.

“Deliveroo is committed to offering flexibility and well-paid work. We are in constant communication with riders to understand their feedback on the new tool and always encourage any riders with questions to get in touch with us directly.”

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.