More than 100 Deliveroo riders have been left without work just before Christmas in a row over whether meals were delivered.
Dozens of couriers for the popular food delivery firm have received the same message over the past week accusing them of fraud and immediately terminating their contracts, according to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union.
The IWW, which represents many riders, said its members strongly deny the allegations, and called the cull “completely heartless.”
A Deliveroo spokesperson defended terminating riders’ contracts for fraud, saying customers “would not expect us to allow this to continue.”
Yahoo Finance UK was sent images by the IWW allegedly showing a Deliveroo email to workers about the fraud claims, alerting the riders that they were getting the boot.
The union’s website carries a claim from a courier called Jamie Johnson, who said:
“Today I received an email from Deliveroo Rider Support, only to be left in absolute disbelief. I have been falsely accused of defrauding the company by incorrectly marking orders ‘delivered’ without completing them despite being paid for them. Without any form of contact or warning throughout my time as a rider or any chance to defend my position, my account has been terminated effective immediately, leaving me in financial difficulty over the festive period.”
The IWW demanded the company provide evidence of any fraud, and called upon Deliveroo to immediately reinstate workers who have had their agreements terminated.
The union said the workers “vehemently deny the accusation of any wrong-doing”.
A Deliveroo spokesperson told Yahoo Finance UK that contracts for some riders were severed after they marked hundreds of pounds worth of food as delivered seconds after collecting the meals.
In other instances, riders claimed to make deliveries but did not travel near the customer’s address, he said.
“Deliveroo will always tackle fraud head on to protect our customers and the vast majority of hardworking riders. We will not work with riders who commit fraud,” he said in a written statement.