'Impossible to survive': Dubai food delivery riders go on strike

DUBAI: Food delivery drivers have staged rare strikes in Dubai, a renowned temple of luxury where fuel prices have spiralled on the back of global inflation sparked by the Ukraine war.

The riders, all of whom are foreigners mostly from south Asia, are demanding better pay and have held two strikes this month in the energy-rich Gulf state where industrial action is rare.

“It is impossible to survive in Dubai on what we make,” said a 28-year-old Pakistani driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

“After spending on petrol, food and accommodation, I am left with nothing at the end of a day,” said the father of two.

The driver, who said he earns around 100 dirhams (US$27) to 150 dirhams a day, said “the hike in petrol prices has hit us hard”.

“We take up to 15 or 20 orders a day … But I have to shell out anything between 40 and 50 dirhams on petrol. That’s in addition to other daily expenses,” he said.

Like other drivers, he was hired to work for Talabat, part of Germany’s Delivery Hero, via a third party sponsor.

A Talabat spokesman told AFP earlier this week that drivers earn an average of 3,500 dirhams per month, depending on the number of deliveries.

“Yet, we understand economic and political realities are changing constantly, and we will always continue to listen to what riders have to say,” he added.

Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ranks among the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates, with a cup of coffee costing US$5.

The International Monetary Fund’s forecast in April that the war in Ukraine would spark a 3.7 per cent cost of living increase in 2022 in the UAE, compared to 0.2 per cent last year.


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