Deliveroo faces fresh UK Supreme Court challenge over riders’ rights

Deliveroo faces fresh UK Supreme Court challenge over riders’ rights


Deliveroo is being challenged in the UK Supreme Court over the rights of its riders, just months after the delivery app signed a voluntary agreement with the GMB union that granted self-employed members collective bargaining on pay.

In May, the London-based company pledged to pay its 90,000 riders at least the minimum wage after costs, but only while the riders were actively delivering an order, rather than during the full working day — including while they were waiting to collect food at a restaurant.

The IWGB union, which has the largest membership of app-based couriers in the UK, has been seeking to get formal collective bargaining rights since 2016, a campaign that has escalated to the Supreme Court, although a date for the hearing has not yet been set.

The fresh challenge comes as Deliveroo faces headwinds as consumers cut back on spending on non-essential items like takeaways, and operational and staffing costs increase with inflation.

The IWGB argues that the company’s arrangement with the GMB does not change Deliveroo’s working practices as riders are still classified as independent contractors and are therefore not entitled to rights such as sick or holiday pay. The agreement with the GMB is voluntary and called a “partnership deal” rather than formal union recognition.

“It is outrageous that Deliveroo is continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds fighting the IWGB in court over collective bargaining rights when it has just granted collective bargaining rights to another . . . union,” said Alex Marshall, president of the IWGB. “Deliveroo should be investing this money in courier pay and conditions, rather than trying to silence its workers who only want a seat at the table.”

A series of UK court rulings challenged gig economy employment models last year. While the courts ruled that drivers for ride-hailing app Uber were workers, Deliveroo riders were classed as self-employed.

“This case focuses solely on narrow issues related to the right to collective bargaining in the UK,” the company said. “Deliveroo is proud to offer flexible, self-employed work enjoyed by tens of thousands of riders across the country. Deliveroo riders can be their own boss while also having security while they work.”

The company offers riders free insurance, which covers some periods of illness and includes support for new parents, it added.

In its half-year results last month, Deliveroo’s pre-tax losses widened to £147mn; a noticeable contributing factor was a rise in staffing costs driven partly by the company employing more people in its technology team.

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: Ipodifier