Alistair Tice, Sheffield Socialist Party
Striking Just Eat/Stuart couriers and supporters scared off a McDonald’s big cheese from visiting the Sheffield Hillsborough restaurant recently. This chief executive was due at midday, but despite suits and police present he didn’t show, so the surprise welcome went ahead anyway.
Insiders reported afterwards that the CEO had been advised by his security not to visit due to flares (only one was lit up one hour after he was due!) and that he demanded that his store manager meet him in Doncaster 20 miles away. Staff were told that they weren’t allowed to talk about what happened!
The delivery drivers, some organised in the independent union the IWGB, are fighting against a pay cut imposed by Stuart, the delivery contractor for Just Eat takeaways, part of the DPD logistics group, which in turn is owned by the French state-owned La Poste.
As well as continuing targeted strike action against Just Eats’ biggest clients like McDonald’s and now Greggs, the Sheffield drivers and the union are improvising new tactics to increase pressure on Stuart and clients. After the successful car blockade of Archer Road McDonald’s on 30 January, a KFC and then another McDonald’s were blocked on 6 February. And in London, 20 IWGB activists invaded a DPD warehouse for half an hour, much to the consternation of the managers.
These high profile actions have helped publicise the strike which is spreading beyond Sheffield again, with 30 drivers in Middlesbrough joining the strike. The IWGB has been contacted by drivers in Dewsbury, Leicester and Manchester as well. There are now plans to call on the trade union movement, especially trades councils, to support a national day of action against JustEat/Stuart by organising protests and pickets in as many towns and cities as possible, which can help spread the strike further and put Stuart under more pressure to reverse the pay cut.