Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights Louise O’Reilly TD, spokesperson on Justice Martin Kenny TD, and spokesperson on Higher Education, Rose Conway Walsh TD, have called on the government to do more to help delivery riders across a range of areas.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“Delivery riders have been providing an essential service throughout the Covid crisis, whether that’s delivering pizza to doctors and nurses at the coalface in our hospitals, fish and chips to the Fire Fighters and Gardaí on the frontline, or a spice-bag to your own front door, they have worked hail, rain, and snow.
“However, these riders have been doing so without many of the workers’ rights and protections that many may take for granted; because the companies they work for falsely classify them as self-employed, these workers often make less than the minimum wage, are not covered by health and safety legislation, and do not receive sick pay and other benefits.
“Not all, but many of these riders are international English language students, and as a result, they are often exploited by the companies they work for. This exploitation has become even more acute during the Covid crisis and the workers situation has been exasperated by the fact they can only operate a for limited number of hours a week, meaning they are struggling to meet their basic needs.
“Indeed, at different stages during the crisis, these workers were victims of their employers cutting their pay without any notification, and even worse, taking their tips from them.
“Like all workers, these workers employment contracts should reflect their employment arrangement – they should be classified as employees and receive the pay and benefits that comes with that. Indeed, as Sinn Féin have constantly argued for all workers, they should be paid a living wage.
“I would urge the government to legislate to end the exploitation and abuse of delivery riders, and all workers for that matter, to ensure bogus self-employment is outlawed, and look at increasing the number of hours these student workers can operate until the pandemic has passed.”
Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman, Martin Kenny TD added:
“An Garda Siochána must ensure that it is properly resourcing and funding community policing.
“Genuine violence reduction strategies begin not with control but with positive and progressive actions which serve to protect and strengthen communities. This includes open lines of communication between minority groups living and working in the city.
“The Gardaí must respond to the pleas of workers for protection and those who report crime must feel that they are heeded and get an appropriate response.
“The INIS must also respond to the circumstances of the pandemic and be flexible regarding visas for those who find themselves stuck in Ireland through no fault of their own, with their classes suspended and their work opportunities radically reduced.”