Dalston food couriers protest will disrupt deliveries this afternoon
- Credit: Sally Patterson
From 4pm today, there will be disruption to local food deliveries as workers protest for safer working conditions.
Local delivery drivers - from Deliveroo, UberEats, and JustEat - will partake in today’s demonstration outside Hackney Town Hall on Mare Street.
Local couriers say they are being forced to wait for takeaway orders in Bentley Road car park.
Currently a Covid testing site, the car park lacks both shelter and toilets.
Couriers claim they have been subject to parking fines and moped theft, as well as quizzing by the police and civil enforcement officers when picking up orders from the Kingsland High Street McDonald's.
The demonstration is organised by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and is backed by MP Diane Abbott.
A spokesperson for McDonald's said: "We’ve been working closely with our delivery partners, Hackney Council and local Police to find a solution to the problem and we support the decision to offer couriers the free use of Bentley Road Car Park as an alternative waiting area.
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"We believe this solution would protect and respect the rights of local residents and address their concerns, whilst also protecting couriers and local businesses."
McDonald's says couriers collecting food from McDonald's are welcome to use customer toilets and facilities.
The spokesperson added: "And we have offered to work with the council to help provide shelter for couriers at the proposed waiting area.”
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, portfolio holder for community safety at Hackney Council, said: “We fully support couriers in seeking better working conditions.
"The council has long-campaigned for better regulation of this 'gig economy'."
The councillor added that the growth of delivery apps has put "significant pressure" on public spaces like Ashwin Street.
She added: "Large numbers of couriers gather here, and the council has received numerous complaints about them, ranging from noise nuisance and public urination, to much more worrying and illegal behaviour, such as violence and street-based sexual harassment.
"These issues are totally unacceptable, and our enforcement officers have received abuse and harassment when dealing with this on behalf of the public."
“It is not the council’s role to provide amenities to help large-scale private companies get more business and alone we cannot solve this issue."
The council says it has supported couriers by offering parking 200 metres from the area, it has waived parking fees since March and is looking to build a shelter to protect them from bad weather.