Winnipeg supply drivers name for livable wage amid hovering fuel costs

Dozens of Winnipeg food delivery workers are holding protests across the city, demanding a livable wage from the app companies that rely on their services amid skyrocketing gas prices. 

A large group holding colourful signs stood in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on Regent Avenue Friday drawing support from drivers who honked as they passed. 

“The restaurants have increased their food prices to maintain with the inflation but our rate that we get for every delivery has not increased for the last few years, it’s the same,” said RJ Mangat, a courier for Skip the Dishes.

He said the rate for deliveries with Skip the Dishes has remained $7 per order for around two years. With Winnipeg gas prices now above $2 per litre, he said drivers are spending hundreds more per month on fuel. He said he used to spend $200 to $300 a month on fuel, and now that has surged to $500 per month.

“So we request that the company increase the minimum wage to at least $9 to match up with the fuel prices,” he said. 

Many of the protesters work for app companies like Skip the Dishes, DoorDash and Uber Eats and said they plan to continue the protest Saturday.

They are encouraging drivers to stop accepting deliveries and to join their WhatsApp group, which is coordinating protests across the city and unifying their requests to employers. 

Kuldeep Singh is encouraging all drivers to join the couriers’ WhatsApp group to unify their call for a livable wage from app companies. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

Couriers will be standing beside the restaurant closest to their homes on Saturday in solidarity, say food courier Kuldeep Singh, and are encouraged to not pick up orders.

“In this inflation it’s very hard to survive so it’s our humble request to Skip to please increase our fares,” he said. 

He added previous attempts to negotiate pay with Skip the Dishes and the other two companies have been unsuccessful. 

The workers, who are not unionized, are mobilizing to do so, he said.

“I request all couriers in Winnipeg to join us because we want to make a change in our delivery fees, we want to get $9,” he said. 

Food courier drivers are protesting across Winnipeg this weekend for wages that keep pace with gas prices above $2 a litre. (Justin Fraser/CBC)

In an email to CBC News, Skip the Dishes senior communications manager Hannah Korsunsky wrote the company is “committed to doing everything we can to support our couriers as gas prices continue to rise across the city.”

“We understand the impacts of increased gas prices on couriers, and are actively pursuing solutions that target the most immediate needs expressed by couriers, including actively implementing a program with a third-party that offers discounts on fuel, and creating an open dialogue to hear concerns and provide ongoing support during this time,” the statement reads.

In an email to CBC News, a DoorDash spokesperson wrote that they actively engage with their “Dasher” community and will take their feedback into account.

The spokesperson added a gas rewards program launched in March has been extended. 

Mangat says a survivable wage is all that he and his colleagues are asking for. 

“If they increase our pay, that’ll help us maintain our pay that we get with expenses that we spend on our cars.”

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