Instacart faces industrial action among US gig workers

A group of Instacart shoppers have published a blog urging the fast-delivery company’s customers to delete the app thanks to an industrial dispute.

San Francisco based Gig Workers Collective is a group representing the interests of gig workers but is not a formal union. It asked shoppers to desist shopping with Instacart until it changes the way it works with its shoppers. The letter concludes it “firmly believe we have exhausted all less drastic options.”

This is not the first time Gig Workers Collective have called on Instacart customers to ditch the app, but this time it is as Instacart, valued at $39 billion, is set to go public with an IPO later this year. It currently has 63% of grocery delivery market share in the US, more than twice that of its nearest competitor, Amazon that has 25%.

According to the Gig Workers Collective, “Over the last 5 years, Instacart has been relentlessly gutting shoppers’ wages, exploiting its improperly classified workforce, and outright stealing shoppers’ wages and tips on its path to its highly anticipated public offering.”

The group is calling on Instacart to: pay shoppers per order, not per batch; re-introduce item commissions; examine its shopper-rating system; offer occupational death benefits; and raise the default tip to 10% for every order – currently this sits at 5%.

In response, Instacart said that it has sought to improve working conditions for its 500,000 shoppers. A spokesperson said: “We take shopper feedback very seriously and remain committed to listening to and using that feedback to improve their experience,” she said.

Instacart isn’t the only giant to have seen rebellion amongst its gig workers – only recently UK based Deliveroo saw the same, just as it too was in the process of floating. That impacted its share price significantly. Whether Instacart, which is significantly bigger, suffers the same remains to be seen.

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