Majority of Scotland’s food delivery couriers feel unsafe at work

A new study highlighting the risks encountered by food delivery couriers reveals a majority feel ‘unsafe’ when at work. Led by Dr Pedro Mendonca from the Centre for Employment, Work and the Professions (CREWs) at Heriot-Watt University’s Edinburgh Business School, the 2-year project gathered feedback from 207 workers, including 33 women, employed in the food delivery industry in cities across Scotland.

The study reveals more than 81% felt unsafe in their job yet continued due to financial necessity, while 78% believed their employer focussed more on customers’ needs than employees. Over 60% suffered racial or ethnic abuse, with 55% physically abused, primarily due to road incidents and accidents.

Dr Mendonca said: “Our findings shed light on the reality food delivery couriers have to confront on a daily basis. A significant number of the workforce are migrants who face multiple barriers as well as daily abuse and a lack of opportunities to find alternative employment in safer environments. It’s imperative to understand the nuanced reality in this sector so that we can address challenges and ensure equal protection for all workers.”

Dr Mendonca calls on the Scottish Government to introduce safeguards to protect workers’ rights better. He said: “The Scottish Government should advocate for the recognition of food delivery couriers as workers, ensuring access to full employment rights, such as sick leave, paternal leave, and holiday entitlement, as well as the chance to join trade unions. Furthermore, I want to see food delivery companies, government, and trade unions working together to improve employment conditions across the sector and to take action on the concerns voiced by workers.”

Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), the study, named Fair Gig Work: A Review of Employment Practices in the Scottish Food Delivery Work 2024, has involved co-investigators Dr Anastasios Hadjisolomou from the University of Strathclyde and Dr Nadia Kougiannou from Nottingham Trent University.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Walther Ploos van Amstel  

Passie in logistiek & supply chain management