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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 insights into working conditions.

It is the first Scottish instrument designed to crack open the ‘black box’ that is hidden by courier apps. It follows a project supported by the Observatory that exposed real rates of pay that are concealed from riders. This analysis of pay documentation found that one in three Deliveroo riders in Scottish cities have been paid below the minimum wage.

This widely covered initiative, reported by Bureau Local, provided riders with a static snapshot of pay, but it also highlighted the unanswered questions about how rates of pay are changing over time. Knowing this can help identify how changes in the company algorithms impact directly on workers. Besides, it also makes tax returns easier.

Nobody doubts the value of penetrating hidden pay data – the question is how to do it in a way that is simple, secure, and empowering for couriers. The tool, designed and created by Edinburgh-based Deliveroo couriers, will allow fellow riders to parse data at any time. It puts the tool and the data into the hands of the rider, who can choose to share it with the Observatory, which will then use the data to make inquiries that will help empower couriers collectively.

We are currently fine-tuning the programme and keen for riders or other coders who are interested to help us get it launch-ready. If you are interested, or with any inquiries, email