As Covid-19 forces citizens around the world into lockdown and food delivery workers go into overdrive to provide relief to customers, a new report has shone a light on the poor working conditions faced by food couriers globally, as well as some of the steps that workers are taking to challenge the status quo.

The recent FES study Global labour unrest on platforms. The case of food delivery workers looks at six global food delivery brands operating in more than two global regions – Uber Eats, Just Eat, Deliveroo, Foodora, Zomato, and Glovo – in addition to a further 12 companies that operate regionally. Between them, these 18 companies deliver cooked and prepared food to customers in 95 countries.

The research, which was based on the Leeds Index – a unique dataset logging plat-form labour unrest around the world – found that there had been 527 incidents of labour unrest from 1 January 2017 to 20 May 2020, across 36 different countries – something the report authors describe as “a remarkable number of protests”. Most of the incidents took place in Europe, followed by Asia, which accounted for around a quarter of all incidents, while one-sixth took place in South America.