Ahead of Deliveroo’s initial public offering next week, six major investors in the U.K. say they will not buy shares of the third-party delivery service, citing concerns over the way the company treats workers. Additionally, hundreds of couriers plan to refuse making deliveries when the company starts trading next week, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Aberdeen Standard, Aviva Investors, BMO Global, CCLA, LGIM, and M&G said they would not participate in the Deliveroo IPO due to the working conditions for Deliveroo drivers and couriers.
Like other third-party delivery services, including U.S.-based Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash, Deliveroo classifies its workers as contractors. In doing so, the company does not have to pay things like minimum wage or sick leave.
Investor concerns come the same week the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a report that found Deliveroo riders can earn as little as £2 per hour during their shifts. The analysis is based on “thousands of invoices from more than 300 riders over the past year.”
A BMO Global portfolio manager told Bloomberg that the workers’ rights issue “is too big a hurdle for me to take any risks with my clients’ capital today.” He added that there are “better business models” out there than the gig-economy one used by Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and others.
One alternative model is that of Just Eat Takeaway.com, which has pledged to move away from gig workers recently in order to classify its drivers and couriers as employees. Uber, meanwhile, was recently forced to reclassify its workers as employees in the U.K., after a supreme court case in February, although for now the decision does not apply to the company’s Eats’ business.
Deliveroo may at some point be forced to do the same. In February, the European Commission launched an initial consultation on conditions for gig-economy workers and is planning to draw up legislation that would govern how the gig economy works in the EU.
That potential legislation also makes Deliveroo a bigger risk for investors. “If Deliveroo is forced to change the way it classifies its riders in the future, it is likely to puncture its profits prospects, and could even derail the delivery giant,” the company said in documents outlining its IPO plans. It has set aside over £112 million to cover the potential legal costs around how the company classifies its workers.