Winnipeg delivery drivers demand decent pay despite skyrocketing gas prices

Dozens of Winnipeg food delivery workers are staging citywide protests, demanding a living wage from app companies that rely on their services amid soaring gas prices.

A large group holding colorful signs stood in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on Regent Avenue on Friday, drawing support from honking drivers as they passed.

“Restaurants have increased their food prices to keep up with inflation but our rate we get for each delivery hasn’t increased in recent years, same thing,” said RJ Mangat, courier for Skip the Dishes.

He said the delivery rate with Skip the Dishes has remained at $7 per order for about two years. With gasoline prices in Winnipeg now over $2 a litre, he said motorists were spending hundreds of dollars more a month on fuel. He said he used to spend between $200 and $300 a month on fuel, and now it’s skyrocketed to $500 a month.

“So we’re asking the company to raise the minimum wage to at least $9 to match fuel prices,” he said.

Many protesters work for app companies like Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and Uber Eats and said they plan to continue the protest on Saturday.

They are encouraging drivers to stop accepting deliveries and join their WhatsApp group, which coordinates protests across the city and unifies their demands to employers.

Kuldeep Singh encourages all drivers to join the couriers WhatsApp group to unify their call for a living wage from app companies. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Couriers will stand next to the restaurant closest to their homes on Saturday in solidarity, food courier Kuldeep Singh said, and are encouraged not to take orders.

“In this inflation it is very difficult to survive, so it is our humble request to Skip to increase our fares,” he said.

He added that previous attempts to negotiate pay with Skip the Dishes and the other two companies had failed.

Workers, who are not unionized, are mobilizing to do so, he said.

“I’m asking all the couriers in Winnipeg to join us because we want to change our delivery charges, we want to get $9,” he said.

Winnipeg couriers for Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and UberEats join call for $2 pay raise per delivery. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

In an email to CBC News, Hannah Korsunsky, senior communications manager for Skip the Dishes, wrote that the company is “committed to doing everything in its power to support our couriers as the prices of the gasoline continue to increase in the city”.

“We understand the impacts of rising gas prices on couriers and are actively seeking solutions that target the most immediate needs expressed by couriers, including the active implementation of a program with a third party that offering fuel discounts and creating an open dialogue to hear concerns and provide ongoing support during this time,” the statement read.

In an email to CBC News, a DoorDash spokesperson wrote that they are actively engaging with their “Dasher” community and will take their feedback into account.

The spokesperson added that a gasoline rewards program launched in March had been extended.

Mangat says a living wage is all he and his colleagues are asking for.

“If they increase our salary, it will help us to maintain our salary which we get with the expenses we spend on our cars.”

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