Observations Blog

  • #DWI descends on Edinburgh
    This week, pioneers of platform organising and gig worker empowerment will descend virtually on Edinburgh for two days, to present and discuss groundbreaking projects for empowering workers to monitor and challenge conditions in the platform economy. The event, hosted in Edinburgh and supported by the Workers’ Observatory, will bring together workers, union organisers, and researchers […]
  • under my skin
    In this interview, a rider in Edinburgh shares their experiences of working as a queer courier and how the job impacts mental health. It has also been featured on https://www.workersstories.org.uk/, a project which collates worker perspectives from below. I began working as a courier in 2018 to earn money during my studies. I had a […]
  • ‘Snooperoo’? 5 Reasons why Deliveroo’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is a bad idea.
    by Alice Barker, courier in Edinburgh Last week, it was reported that Deliveroo are launching a training scheme for couriers who will ‘keep an eye out for crimes‘ including street harassment, domestic abuse, modern slavery and human trafficking, county lines and drug dealing. However well-intentioned the initial idea is (reportedly put forward by a courier […]
  • Manifesto Launch: Gig Worker Demands for Scottish Election
    Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May, we are calling on Scottish parliamentary candidates to back our ambition for a city-by-city transformation of the relationship between gig economy companies and gig workers, with five core demands. Ahead of the Scottish elections, please ask your candidates to support our five key demands, which are described […]
  • Deliveroo pays £6 an hour to build its business on our backs
    As investors respond to Deliveroo’s sinking stock, exhausted riders deal with Deliveroo’s stock responses. In an embarrassing week for the company, an Edinburgh rider reflects on precarious work in the time of a pandemic. I’ve been working primarily for Deliveroo since 2018, and have personally experienced at least a 40% drop in my earnings over […]
  • Empower the Migrants, Empower the Gig Workers
    This blog was first published on Bella Caldonia on 6th April 2021. The Workers Observatory is working with migrant activist group Precaria on solidarity work in the city. Edinburgh’s economy is awash with jobs based on insecure contracts and conditions, and they are often done by migrant workers. Precaria, a brilliant group supporting migrants in […]
  • New tool to track courier pay over time
    In the coming weeks, we’re excited to be launching a new tool that will equip couriers to see how their pay rates are changing – and to make tax returns easier. The ‘Roo-Parse’ programme analyses pay documents that riders receive, and ‘parses’ the data, breaking it into useful chunks of information, to gain and share […]
  • Ferret finds the facts about Deliveroo pay
    It is no surprise that one in three Deliveroo riders in Scottish cities have been paid below the minimum wage. Figures analysed by the The Ferret and the Bureau Local, based on data from riders across the country, has pieced together a picture of the pay rates for riders in cities across Scotland and the […]
  • Why Workers’ Observatories Can Help Empower Gig Workers
    This article, first published on Brave New Europe, looks at the growth of observatories in Europe seeking to understand the changing nature of work, and empower workers to research, access and ultimately control their data. By Cailean Gallagher (@apudscotos). Inspired by the 19th century observatory that sits atop a hill in Scotland’s capital city (pictured […]
  • Cycling in the City: A workers inquiry of food delivery platforms in Edinburgh.
    A member of the Delivery Guild investigates the conditions of courier work in Edinburgh, and the challenges of organising within a dispersed community. With thanks to Notes from Below, who first published the inquiry as part of a new collection of worker writing, From the Workplace. Food delivery couriers are now a ubiquitous part of […]
  • Spotlight on Spain: gig workers take heart from court support
    As California voters back Prop22 that will make Uber and Lyft exempt from labour law, a member of our Delivery Guild reflects on the recent good news closer to home. Something is shifting in Spain. A decision from the Spanish Supreme Court on the irregular status of self-employed riders could rock the platform economy as […]
  • Does traditional union organising work in food delivery? The McAlevey Method on Wheels
    I am a takeaway delivery courier based in Edinburgh. I have been in this job for two years, and I have become aware of different issues couriers face while working, including variable and unpaid waiting times at restaurants, uncertainty of the availability of orders on a given day, constantly decreasing fees, and sudden unexplained terminations. […]