A trade union is going to the High Court over the employment status of Deliveroo riders in the latest legal case involving the so-called “gig economy”.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is attempting to overturn a ruling which found that the company’s riders were not entitled to collective bargaining rights because they are “self-employed”.
Last November, the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) rejected the IWGB’s application to represent Deliveroo riders in Camden, north London.
The CAC concluded that because riders are able to pass on a job to a substitute, or abandon a job, they were not obliged to provide a “personal service” and could not be classified as “workers”.
At a hearing in London on Wednesday, lawyers for the IWGB will argue that denying Deliveroo riders the right to collectively bargain through their trade union amounts to a breach of their human rights.
The union claims the CAC should have interpreted “personal service” in a way which does not exclude the right of Deliveroo riders to bargain collectively, as enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Speaking before the hearing, IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said: “At stake in this case is not just the basic employment rights of Deliveroo riders, but their fundamental human rights to organise within a trade union and collectively bargain to improve their lot.
“By fighting this case as vigorously as it has, Deliveroo has shown its true colours. The IWGB will continue to fight until these basic rights and freedoms are vindicated.”
A Deliveroo spokesman said: “The central finding of the CAC that Deliveroo riders are self-employed has been repeatedly confirmed by the courts.
“The flexibility that comes with self-employment is the very reason why riders choose to work with us and why on-demand work is so popular.
“The IWGB’s repeated attempts to reverse this judgment and take power away from riders, removing their ability to work flexibly, does not reflect what Deliveroo riders want.”