Union wins first round of Deliveroo high court employment challenge

By Georgia Bronte contact

- Last updated on GMT

Union wins first round of Deliveroo high court employment challenge
The UK High Court has granted a workers’ union permission to challenge Deliveroo’s opposition to its riders right to collective bargaining.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had its application for representation by the body that deals with union recognition and collective bargaining cases rejected in November on the grounds that Deliveroo riders were self-employed.

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 outcome of Wednesday’s judicial review, which is on ‘limited grounds’, does not change riders’ status as self-employed as such, but does grant them the right to appeal to be given collective bargaining  rights with the takeaway delivery company.

Mrs Justice Simler of the High Court granted Deliveroo’s riders the permission on the basis of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the right to freedom of assembly and association).

“The IWGB was granted permission on the basis of its human rights argument to the effect that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights means the British collective bargaining laws need to be applied in a way which covers Deliveroo Riders,” says a spokesperson for the union.

“If won, the case will have massive ramifications for the so-called ‘gig-economy’ and human rights in the UK.”

A spokesperson for Deliveroo claims the court’s decision was welcomed by the company as it confirms the riders’ status as self-employed people and workers.

“Today’s decision has clearly upheld the central finding of the CAC, which is that Deliveroo riders are self-employed. This is good news for Deliveroo riders, who value the ability to choose when and where to work,” says a Deliveroo spokesperson.

“Deliveroo has long argued that the self-employed should have access to greater protections, and we welcome any debate on how that can best be achieved.”

Crowdfunding by the IWGB for the legal costs of the case has reached £23,000 so far.

No date has been set for the case, which will be heard over a day and a half.

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