Deliveroo has been accused of damaging the earning power of riders by preventing access to online systems that allow gig economy workers to more easily see if rival companies are offering better fares.
Rodeo, an app that lets riders track earnings across different delivery platforms including Just Eat and UberEats, told its almost 10,000 users on Sunday that Deliveroo had blocked its access to the platform, in an email seen by the Financial Times.
Many couriers work for several different delivery companies, juggling jobs between Deliveroo and its competitors. With a rider’s consent, Rodeo allows them to see their earnings data in one place and identify which jobs pay the best rates.
Deliveroo has blocked Rodeo, payroll connectivity provider Argyle and other third-party technology from accessing its platform in recent weeks as part of a security update of its rider app.
Shaf Hussain, a rider for delivery apps, said the move would take power away from riders. “The data that Deliveroo collects on us belongs to us,” Hussain said. “[But] it’s data that they don’t want getting out.”
Alex Marshall, president of the union IWGB, which represents gig economy workers and is challenging Deliveroo in the Supreme Court next month to gain collective bargaining rights, said: “It’s an example of them blunting the tools workers have to make informed decisions.”
In May, Deliveroo signed a voluntary agreement with the GMB Union that classed its riders as independent contractors. Alfie Pearce-Higgins, the co-founder of Rodeo, said the move showed Deliveroo’s “inconsistency” towards rider independence.
“Independence when it works for their business is great,” he said. “When riders exert that independence, taking control of their data or sharing with another service, it seems to be looked at slightly differently.”
The move comes after Deliveroo released full-year results last week that showed sluggish growth in 2022, with gross transaction value, a measure of orders placed on Deliveroo’s platform, growing by just 9 per cent, compared to a 70 per cent increase in 2021.
Deliveroo is under pressure as consumers cut back on spending on non-essential items such as takeaways, and it faces pressure to increase wages with inflation.
Rodeo published data in January showing that the average Deliveroo fare per order fell by 0.3 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021. UberEats pay per order fell 1.3 per cent and Just Eat fares dropped 6.1 per cent in 2022.
“Deliveroo supports Rodeo’s objectives of supporting riders and providing insights into how they work. However, Rodeo and its partner Argyle accessed Deliveroo’s rider app without authorisation,” Deliveroo said.
“Our concerns have been communicated to Rodeo and, despite this, they have continued to attempt to gain unauthorised access. A planned security update has prevented this . . . Riders themselves remain free to access their data via our platform, which is unchanged.”
Pearce-Higgins said: “The authority to access a rider’s account is given by the rider, whose data it is.” Argyle did not respond to a request for comment.