Drivers for Skip The Dishes, Uber Eats and Door Dash calling for more financial help to offset high gas prices
The advent of the gig economy has created a vast wage discrepancy in favour of the big corporations. Companies such as Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, and Skip The Dishes are billion-dollar companies that rely on their drivers/couriers; otherwise, they do not have a business.
On Friday, June 10, local Skip The Dishes drivers in Winnipeg organized a walkout day of protest as a result of what they are calling a lack of financial support from the corporation. Along the protestors were some members who drive for their competitors, Uber Eats and Door Dash. With the increase in gas prices over the past few months, drivers are losing money working for the company, according to several of them that participated in the protest.
They added that management at Skip The Dishes sent emails promising them financial relief to offset some of the fuel cost. However, they are yet to see an increase in the monies pledged.
Several drivers took a moment to explain the delivery system in detail, so everyone understood better how the Skip The Dishes pay scale works.
A driver delivering food for Skip The Dishes earns a base rate of $3.49 per delivery, and if they maintain an average rating of 80%, that rate gets bumped up to $7.00 plus any tips earned. If a driver’s rating drops below the 80% mark, they are stuck at the $3.49 rate until they complete ten successful deliveries incident-free to bring them back to the minimum threshold.
According to the drivers, all it takes is two reported incidents from customers to place a driver below the 80% threshold. They also indicated some incidents are out of their control, like weather and incorrect orders. If a driver refuses to take a delivery, citing location reasons or the likeliness they will receive a low or no tips, it counts as a strike against them.
For example, the drivers said it is not unusual to make a delivery ten kilometres from their location. And when they factor in the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance, many say they are making less than minimum wage or losing money at the end of a shift.
It is not the first time drivers from Skip The Dishes staged a day strike; a few months ago, over 300 drivers in Sudbury, Ontario, protested against the low wages and lack of support from the corporation to offset the cost of increased fuel.
Skip The Dishes is also facing a class-action lawsuit filed in July of 2020 by Charleen Pokornik, a former driver with the company. Ms. Pokornik alleges her rights were violated by the company when they misclassified her as an independent contractor and not an employee. That lawsuit is still making its way throughout the court system.
It remains unclear if the drivers of Skip The Dishes will ever reach a pay on par with minimum wage. Because they are considered independent contractors, they are neither unionized nor benefit from the luxuries of being an employee.
It is to note that during the day of the strike, several Drivers provided screenshots of the company offering a $1 bonus to deliver in busy areas. We contacted Skip The Dishes late Friday evening for a response to the allegations from its drivers and sources within the company but have not received one yet.
However, the company’s Hannah Korsunsky, the senior communications manager, did provide a statement to CBC stating the company is doing
“everything we can to support our couriers as gas prices continue to rise across the city.”
“We understand the impacts of increased gas prices on couriers, and are actively pursuing solutions that target the most immediate needs expressed by couriers, including actively implementing a program with a third party that offers discounts on fuel, and creating an open dialogue to hear concerns and provide ongoing support during this time.”
However, we were told by sources employed by the corporation that the statement is full of inaccuracies, and little is being done to support the drivers.