The View From the Picket Line: Reports From the Food Platform Strike on October 4th
The recent food platform strike on the 4th of October took on a different character to the previous strikes of couriers in the UK and Europe. The majority of these strikes have involved the “logging off”, or wildcat strike, of riders, who then converge on a central point for a protest targeted at the company. In the UK, this meant refusing to work while calling a demonstration at the Deliveroo or Uber headquarters. These vibrant and chaotic demonstrations showed the collective power of these workers, also sometimes expressed in flying pickets to nearby restaurants.
On the 4th of October, there was a demonstration called at the Uber headquarters during the strike. However, unlike these previous demonstrations, the majority of the striking riders chose to stay in their zones. This meant that for many initial observers, the strike did not seem to have the same power and numbers of previous actions. However, the lack of a central meeting point meant that drivers continued to organise on the day in a much more dispersed way. UberEats riders primarily pick up from their local McDonalds, which created a physical place for striking riders to picket. As you can see below striking riders enforced picket lines at their local McDonalds where they multiplied the strike by encouraging other riders to join. In this piece, we have collated reports from across London, as well as other cities in the UK 1. What this shows is a potential mutation of the tactics, spreading the action wider as drivers actively picket and build the strike across what is effectively their workplace.