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Drivers and cyclists who work for UberEats woke up Tuesday to find a late-night email from the company that changed their rates of compensation, moves that they say will result in a 30 to 50 per cent wage cut.
Disgruntled Uber delivery people met in front of Uber’s Toronto office on Tuesday afternoon to protest the changes to the new payment structure, with some turning in their branded meal carrying bags as they stopped working for the service.
“It’s a drastic pay cut, around 30 and 50 per cent,” said Julia Pak, another bike courier. “I’m not a 100 per cent sure what I’m going to do, because I haven’t signed the new contract, and I don’t know if I necessarily feel OK with it.”
All Uber delivery people are contractors. Prior to the changes, cyclists would get $ 6.50 when they picked up an order — a fee that added up if they picked multiple orders from the same restaurant — and were then paid an extra $ 1.85 per kilometre of distance travelled. Uber would then take 35 per cent of the total delivery fee as its cut.
As of Nov. 29, the delivery people will receive $ 2.90 for a pickup — but it’s now a flat rate, regardless of how many meals are picked up. The delivery people then get $ 2.50 for each drop-off. The distance rate is dropping to $ 1.05 per kilometre. Uber’s 35-per-cent cut remains the same.
According to Susie Heath, spokesperson for Uber Canada, the changes come with a new “boost” factor that provides a potential bonus compensation for delivery people, which the company believes will help delivery partners recoup their wages.
“Uber Eats delivery partners work hard everyday to bring meals from local restaurants to customers. In order to ensure consistent earnings, we have introduced a new delivery fee boost based on when and where partners deliver,” said Heath in an email. “Delivery fees are now made up of three parts — a pickup fee, a drop off fee and distance fees. Maximizing delivery partner earnings is a priority and we will continue to work to ensure a competitive income for all our partners.”
MacNeill isn’t sure about the new “boost” charges, and whether they will be set high enough to recoup the lost wages. There is also the fear is that it might cause prices to rise, driving away customers.
The Uber Eats service has undergone a number of changes since launching in Toronto this summer. It launched with no delivery fee, but eventually added one, and has increased delivery charges. As well, the company stopped its popular Instant Delivery lunch service in most markets in the past few months.