Deliveroo wins case confirming riders are self-employed

In the latest challenge to the employment status of ‘gig economy’ workers, Deliveroo riders have been ruled self-employed by labour law body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC), in a move which runs counter to other recent rulings

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) brought a test case relating to a proposed bargaining unit covering the area of Camden and Kentish Town in London, which would allow riders to have collective bargaining rights in relation to issues such as holiday pay, the minimum wage and pensions contributions.

However, the Central Arbitration Committee found Deliveroo riders to be self-employed because of their freedom to ‘substitute’ by allowing other riders to take their place on a job.

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee,  IWGB general secretary, said: ‘Despite the Central Arbitration Committee’s finding that a majority of the riders in the bargaining unit would likely support union recognition for the IWGB, it seems that after a series of defeats, finally a so-called gig economy company has found a way to game the system.

‘On the basis of a new contract introduced by Deliveroo’s army of lawyers just weeks before the tribunal hearing, the CAC decided that because a rider can have a mate do a delivery for them, Deliveroo’s low paid workers are not entitled to basic protections.’

Dan Warne, managing director for Deliveroo in the UK and Ireland said: ‘This is a victory for all riders who have continuously told us that flexibility is what they value most about working with Deliveroo.

‘As we have consistently argued, our riders value the flexibility that self-employment provides. Riders enjoy being their own boss - having the freedom to choose when and where they work, and riding with other delivery companies at the same time.’

The decision follows shortly after another gig economy company, Uber, failed to win its legal argument that its drivers are self employed in a separate ruling handed down by an employment appeal tribunal.

The Central Arbitration Committee decision is here.

Report by Pat Sweet

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