A DELIVERY driver in Darlington has claimed he is earning well below the national living wage after reports the firm "slashed" workers' pay.

Adrian Ispas revealed to The Northern Echo just how much he is earning while working in the role as Just Eat's subcontractor, Stuart faces strike action across the North East.

Following changes in December 2021 that saw couriers lose £1.10 per 'drop off', many have claimed this is unfair as it makes it harder for them to earn enough to live on.

Supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, couriers have been left furious about the pay cut and are picketing in Darlington and Middlesbrough this week.

Read more: Just Eat drivers begin strike action in Darlington over pay cut and 'bad' conditions

Adrian Ispas said: “We work seven days a week and can work over ten hours a day. During lockdown most of us made enough money, but not now.”

As delivery couriers under the Stuart brand are classed as being self-employed they are not entitled to the National Living Wage.

“We're working for less than minimum wage and we're self-employed so we don't get any paid time off.”

“We have to pay for our own fuel as well so it's just ridiculous. There are too many drivers competing for deliveries.”

The Northern Echo: Delivery drivers have been on strike in Darlington this week. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTDelivery drivers have been on strike in Darlington this week. Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

In order to be available to pick up and drop off food at a moment's notice, the role requires delivery drivers to be near collection points.

Those are usually at retail parks with popular food outlets, so that the driver can accept an order that comes through on the Just Eat app, pick up the food and drop it off to the customer's address.

Read more: Drivers could strike affecting Darlington Greggs and McDonald's over £1.10 pay cut

Last Friday (May 13), Mr Ispas worked for nine hours and 33 minutes. He made just two deliveries and made £11.13. On the National Living Wage, Mr Ispas would have earned around £105.73.

Delivery drivers working for Stuart pay for their own fuel, therefore reducing how much money they take home even more.

Stuart has introduced Linear Pay, meaning that the 'pay per drop' has been cut from £4.50 to £3.40.

Read more: We tried to live on 30p per day after Tory MP's claims (and it didn't go very well)

This was implemented in December 2021, even though Stuart's turnover reportedly doubled between 2019 and 2020.

As part of the strike, couriers across the UK have been picketing and rejecting orders from major Just Eat clients such as McDonald's, KFC, and Greggs.

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Peter Gibson, MP for Darlington, said: “I am concerned to hear reports from the Echo that people in Darlington are working for rates of pay that are below the living wage. This is not right. I would encourage any Darlington resident in this situation to immediately contact me in order that I can raise this with their employer and with HMRC.”

A spokesperson for Just Eat said that as delivery couriers are self-employed they are not entitled to the National Living Wage or any other benefits that employed people have.

Brendan Hamill, Stuart UK General Manager: said: “Data collected since the implementation of Linear Pay has shown that the new pay regime has had a neutral to positive impact on courier pay in Darlington. 

"We take courier concerns very seriously and aim to be the most courier-centric platform in the sector. The ongoing action by a small number of couriers does not represent the sentiment of the couriers we interact with on a regular basis.”


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