Delivery drivers threatened to go on strike in Blackburn, Darwen and Accrington after a ‘boost’ payment was stopped.

Drivers said they were being asked to work harder for less money, and Just Eat drivers had planned to strike from 5pm until midnight on Friday, October 6 and Saturday 7. 

But late on Thursday afternoon drivers were notfied the 'boost' payment had been reinstated until Monday.

The decision to strike would have caused 'chaos' for fast food outlets during the busiest time of the week, with delivery off the table meaning people will have to collect their takeaways instead.

The strike was being centred on the decision by Just Eat to stop an extra payment which was paid at any time.

The app paid 50p for first delivery and then another 50p for the second delivery and so on so forth. An extra 80p on top for a multiple delivery meant a driver could get £1.80 on two back to back deliveries. Drivers had been told this had also stopped.

For a full-time worker it could amount to him/her losing up to £70 a week, said a driver representative.

One driver, who did not wish to be named in case it affected his job, is leading the campaign for better support.

He said threats of a strike had been forced on drivers due to Just Eats’ decision to stop the top-up payments.

They would therefore also encourage the drivers who are signed up to other delivery apps such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo to stay at home.

It followed similar changes to payments in the past on those apps.

He said: “It is not something we wanted to do but there is no other way of making our feelings known.

“We had a group of more than 150 drivers in Blackburn, Darwen, Accrington who were not going to work this weekend.

“We feel we are being taken advantage of and customers should know this. We were not asking for much but for the ‘boost’ which could amount to £1.80 to be reinstated.

“A driver must complete a number of deliveries an hour to ensure he/she takes home a decent wage.

“We are faced with rising petrol prices and insurance costs and to take away the extra payment was simply not fair."

He said other apps such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo had halted these payments earlier and many drivers he knew were unhappy at losing out.

Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo couriers deliver meals for many takeaways as well as major fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC.

They also deliver shopping for supermarkets such as Asda and Iceland. Couriers  are self employed independent contractors.

He added: “Drivers are expected to work long hours and the service has been important for residents across the country, especially since and during the lockdowns.

"We just feel there should be decent value for the work carried out.”

But late on Thursday afternoon drivers were told the payment would be reinstated until Monday.

The driver said: "We have been told the payment has been reinstated till Monday but what happens after that we don't know."

Drivers had contacted Just Eat stating: “We, the dedicated drivers who contribute significantly to Just Eats’ success, are writing to express our concerns regarding the current pay structure.

"As you are undoubtedly aware, the rising costs of fuel, energy prices, and essential food items are putting immense pressure on our ability to provide for our families.

“It is with a heavy heart that the majority of drivers have reached a unanimous decision: if our concerns are not addressed promptly, we will be compelled to participate in a mass walkout on Friday, October 6, and Saturday 7.

"We sincerely hope it does not come to this, but we believe it is crucial to convey the seriousness of our situation.”

A Just Eat spokesperson said: “We take any concerns raised by couriers on our network seriously. We provide a highly competitive base rate to self-employed couriers and also offer regular incentives to help them maximise their earnings.

"We continue to review our pay structure regularly and welcome any feedback from couriers."