The inquiry is being launched by Frank Field MP, who chairs the work and pensions committee. The committee has already taken evidence from drivers who work for delivery companies including Hermes; Uber; DPD; and Parcelforce.
“The weight of the evidence I’ve seen shows that bogus self-employment is being peddled by those who benefit so handsomely from the gig economy, to avoid the obligations they have to their workforce,” Field says.
“I now wish to see if this is a partial view or whether it, sadly, represents what is going on in yet another company operating in the gig economy."
Evidence will be gathered from Deliveroo cyclists and moped riders over the next five weeks.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will also hold a roundtable where couriers will be given an opportunity to give spoken evidence.
Deliveroo has come under fire in recent weeks, as the media has placed a spotlight on its employment policies and attitudes towards the rights of its riders.
Last week, the UK High Court granted the IWGB permission to challenge Deliveroo’s opposition to its riders’ right to collective bargaining.
Next month the law firm Leigh Day will lead an employment tribunal action demanding better employment rights including the minimum wage; sick pay; and paid holiday for Deliveroo riders.
The company claims that it welcomes any investigation into its practices, and says that its riders enjoy benefits from being considered ‘self-employed’.
“Deliveroo offers riders flexible, well-paid work because this is what we know they want. Riders value having the freedom to choose when, where and whether to work, and this flexibility is only available through self-employment,” says a spokesperson.
“Deliveroo would be happy to contribute to a balanced enquiry which acknowledges the benefits of self-employment, and which takes forward our calls on policy-makers to end the trade-off between flexibility and security that currently exists in employment law, so we can continue to improve our offer to riders.”