Court rules Deliveroo riders are not classed as employees

25 June 2021 by
Court rules Deliveroo riders are not classed as employees

Deliveroo has won the latest round of a legal battle over the employment status of its riders after a court ruled in its favour.

Since 2017 the delivery firm has been fighting a case brought by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) which sought to classify its delivery drivers as ‘workers' with the right to collectively bargain for better pay or hours.

On Thursday (24 June) the court of appeal upheld three previous judgements determining Deliveroo riders are self-employed and do not have the right to organise as a trade union.

This hinged on their employment terms allowing the use of substitutes, meaning someone else can carry out deliveries on their behalf.

Lord Justice Underhill, one of three judges which ruled on the case, said that although the decision may seem "counter-intuitive" delivery riders were not in the appropriate "employment relationship" with the company.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: "UK courts have now tested and upheld the self-employed status of Deliveroo riders four times.

"Our message to riders is clear. We will continue to back your right to work the way you want and we will continue to listen to you and respond to the things that matter to you most.

"Deliveroo's model offers the genuine flexibility that is only compatible with self-employment, providing riders with the work they tell us they value. Those campaigning to remove riders' flexibility do not speak for the vast majority of riders and seek to impose a way of working that riders do not want. Deliveroo will continue to campaign for companies like ours to be able to offer the full flexibility of self employment along with greater benefits and more security."

Alex Marshall, IWGB president and a former courier, said riders were working under "increasingly unfair conditions".

He added: "We will now consider our legal position, but one thing is for sure: we will continue to grow in numbers and fight on the streets until Deliveroo give these key worker heroes the pay and conditions they more than deserve."

The gig economy is coming under increasing scrutiny in the courts. Earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled Uber drivers must be classed as workers and not self-employed, entitling them to rights such as holiday pay and minimum wage.

However, Uber said the decision did not apply to its UberEats delivery riders who have a similar right of substitution in their contract to Deliveroo drivers.

Image: Nrqemi Shutterstock

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