A union has been given the go-ahead for a High Court challenge over the employment status of Deliveroo riders in the latest “gig economy” case.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) wants the court to overturn a ruling which confirmed the “self-employed” status of those working for the delivery firm.
Mrs Justice Simler gave the union permission for a full judicial review of the ruling, given by the Central Arbitration Committee in November last year.
The CAC, which considers union recognition and collective bargaining cases, rejected an application by the IWGB to represent drivers in parts of north London.
The committee concluded that because riders are able to pass on a job to a substitute, or to abandon a job, they were not obliged to provide a “personal service” and therefore could not be classified as “workers”.
The union said that, as independent contractors, the riders are “denied basic employment rights” including a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and collective bargaining rights.
Crowdfunding for the legal costs of the case has reached £23,000 so far.
Deliveroo claimed a victory after the CAC’s ruling and called for a change in employment law so it could offer benefits such as sick pay to its riders, while “maintaining flexibility”.
Mrs Justice Simler rejected a number of the union’s arguments, but said it was “arguable” that the CAC should have considered the right of the Deliveroo riders to bargain collectively – as enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
No date was set for the case, which will be heard over a day and a half.