Seanad debates

Monday, 22 February 2021

Ábhair Ghnó an tSeanaid – Matters on the Business of the Seanad

 

10:30 am

Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael)

We heard calls over the weekend for better working terms and conditions for Deliveroo riders. I have been campaigning and working on this for a number of months. No one expects a Deliveroo rider to take risks with his or her life or personal safety. However, because areas are being red-zoned by riders, communities and businesses in them are being left without delivery services. We have marauding gangs of youths fighting with delivery riders. The footage shown over the weekend of this was appalling. We have had engagement on the northside of Dublin city but we now need this to be a citywide engagement. I wrote this morning to the Minister for Justice about this issue.It is intolerable that communities will be stigmatised. I have spoken to the gardaí who are aware of this anti-social behaviour and are taking action against it. The gardaí say they do not have the same number of reports of incidents the riders allege are occurring. I will come back to that.

I have met and engaged with Deliveroo over recent months to address its terms and conditions. It denies that its riders are employees and says that they are self-employed. I have made a submission to the Tánaiste proposing a hybrid model, coupling the flexibility of a self-employed person with the protections of an employee, similar to the Uber ruling in the supreme court in London last Friday. We need to ensure we recognise the new gig economy method of working and that there is no race to the bottom in terms of employment rights.

There are two reasons for the lack of Garda reports on this issue. Deliveroo says there is an inherent reluctance to trust the police on the part of some of its riders because of where they come from. I do not doubt that is true, and I have encouraged them to come forward. The second reason is that some riders are working in contravention of their type 2, A visa or are facilitating others to do so, and as a consequence are afraid to come forward. These are vital workers and we need to review their work status. We also need to assist the gardaí in tackling the anti-social behaviour at these hotspots and stop the riders having to police themselves. We need to police the areas to ensure that both communities and riders get this delivery service.

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