Yodel van. Photo: Mtaylor848/CC
Yodel van. Photo: Mtaylor848/CC

Birmingham Socialist Party member

Self-employed couriers were left with serious cash-flow issues due to a new pay structure at Yodel, the parcel delivery company.

Yodel was acquired by Shift, the ‘Uber for removals’ after experiencing financial turmoil.

Shift is owned by self-styled entrepreneur, Jacob Corlett, who has brought several delivery companies. He wants the new group to become a “disruptive logistics powerhouse.”

Like most gig economy jobs, workers take on most of the risks – the use of their car, business insurance and responsibility for goods, for just about minimum wage. They receive no sick and holiday pay or pension.

Shift’s shareholders wrote an email to Yodel couriers that they were “delighted” to announce a new weekly pay structure. Under the new contract, couriers will be paid weekly, four weeks in arrears. Previously, couriers were paid fortnightly, two weeks in arrears.

Taking one month to implement, the revised pay structure has left drivers with serious cash-flow issues. Meanwhile, shareholders hold thousands of pounds in unpaid wages, while their courier ‘partners’ struggle to pay household bills. And, if Shift were to go into liquidation, couriers would risk losing up to a month’s wages.

Couriers at the Oldbury depot in the West Midlands have said that they have had to borrow money from friends, family and partners. Shift did not offer any short-term loans to couriers, only a fuel card.

A double whammy for couriers is that their piece-rate-per-parcel will be capped at three parcels. This means that any addresses that have more than three parcels for delivery will only be paid for three parcels, instead of the actual number delivered.

This is another example of capitalists holding workers to ransom while they scoop in profits.

The Socialist Party fights for trade union action for a wage workers can live on, with full benefits including sick and holiday pay, and a decent pension.