November 29, 2016 4:25 pm
Updated: November 29, 2016 10:43 pm

Toronto UberEATS delivery drivers protest new rate cut, call for boycott

WATCH ABOVE: Toronto UberEATS delivery drivers not happy after rates slashed

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The popular food delivery app UberEATS is coming under fire from Toronto drivers who work for the service, after it slashed their compensation overnight.

UberEATs driver David Heller said he and others were informed Monday night that delivery rates would be cut from the old model of $1.85 per kilometre and a $6.50 flat rate per order – down to $1.05 per kilometre, $2.90 per pick-up and $2.50 per drop-off.

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“The more you make, the more you’re going to get cut from your pay,” Heller said during a small protest outside of Uber Canada’s Toronto headquarters.

“I don’t want to agree to anything that’s going to infringe on my rights to make a fair wage.”

READ MORE: UberEats expands its Toronto food delivery service

Heller said most customers don’t realize UberEATS also takes around 35 per cent per order from restaurants that use the service depending on means of transportation, which he says means the company is “making quite a bit of money from both ends.”

“They’re charging a delivery fee from the customer and they’re taking a percentage of each order from the restaurant,” he said, adding that he expects the new compensation changes will result in a 25 to 50 per cent wage cut.

“They’re just looking to increase their profits while getting away with paying us as little as possible.”

WATCH: UberEATS drivers in Toronto upset about pay cut

Michael Finkelstein, a former driver with UberEATS, said he refuses to work with the company again until changes are made.

“It made me quit Uber. I’m not going to do it anymore, it’s not fair for my time,” he said.

“They’re going to lose their loyal, good delivery partners that aren’t being treated fairly anymore and they’re going to hire whoever will accept this pay rate and it’s almost like working below minimum wage, it’s not fair.”

“The drivers are being treated unfairly, don’t order from UberEATS.”

Heller said when he first started working with UberEATS , the company would compensate $10 if drivers had to wait at a restaurant for more than 10 minutes, which he said has now been cut in half. He added drivers could also face a lower rating on the app if they cancelled the order.

“So they’re not giving us compensation for waiting and if we move on to our next call to try to make some money, they’re punishing us for that as well,” he said, adding that the app also disincentivizes tipping.

“As you order, it says everything is taken care of in the app, no need to tip. It actively encourages their customers to not tip delivery drivers, which is a big part of our income just as it is for servers and cab drivers.”

Julia Pak, a delivery driver for local app competitor Foodora, said tipping makes up a significant part of her income.

READ MORE: UberEATS aims to take big bite out of Edmonton food delivery competition

“It really makes or breaks it at the end of the day,” she said, adding tips can account for 40 to 50 per cent of her daily income.

“[UberEATS] doesn’t tip so I’m with other companies. … I know that they actively encourage their customers not to tip and they say in their app ‘tipping not required.'”

She added that the extra $5 or $10 she makes in occasional tips makes working it worthwhile.

“It would be hard to do without the tips,” she said. “I did [UberEATS] during the summertime and it just wasn’t really that good. … It seems tacky to me order $50 worth of food and then not tip the person.”

Heller said he’d like to see the fees for drivers returned to the way they were, if not improved further, and is organizing a protest for this weekend to “show Uber they can’t walk all over us.”

READ MORE: Uber drivers take women on longer, more expensive rides, study claims

“We have rights and we deserve an honest wage,” he said. “Other drivers have already agreed to not sign the new agreement and to not drive or deliver for Uber until this issue is resolved.”

Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Heath confirmed in an emailed statement to Global News Tuesday that the service was changing its rates, but declined to comment further.

“In order to ensure consistent earnings, we have introduced new a delivery fee boost based on when and where partners deliver,” Heath said, adding the boost feature could help drivers recoup costs.

“Maximizing delivery partner earnings is a priority and we will continue to work to ensure a competitive income for all our partners.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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