Courts deny Deliveroo riders collective bargaining rights in victory for ‘gig economy’

Deliveroo riders have been barred rights to collective bargaining, the High Court has ruled.

The High Court dismissed a judicial review challenge brought by the up and coming Independent Workers Union of Great Britain which wished to attain recognition from the company so it could represent its workers in collective bargaining negotiations.

The court case is yet another legal test to the “gig economy”.

The Union claimed by not recognising them the company was in violation Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The CAC ruled last year that there was overwhelming support from the riders to collectively bargain through their chosen trade union, the IWGB, but that a collective bargaining unit could not be formed because the riders were not workers or employees. The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) found last November that Deliveroo riders were not classified as workers as they because they were able to ask other riders to take on deliveries for them and therefore not entitled to collective bargaining rights.

The Union challenged they were outside the definition of “workers” who could be represented by a union in bargaining negotiations.

In a statement, the Independent Worker Union said:

The IWGB fundamentally disagrees on High Court judge Michael Supperstone’s interpretation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and how it should be applied. Article 11 guarantees trade union rights as a basic human right.

The Independent Workers Union plan to appeal the decision.

In a statement Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the union said:

“Today’s judgement is a terrible one, not just in terms of what it means for low paid Deliveroo riders, but also in terms of understanding the European Convention on Human Rights. Deliveroo riders should be entitled to basic worker rights as well as to the ability to be represented by trade unions to negotiate pay and terms and conditions. The IWGB will appeal this decision and continue to fight for these rights until we are victorious”.

The outcome of the case will be watched by other new age firms closely. Uber is currently waiting to see if the Court of Appeal will overturn a decision that a number of its drivers should be classified as workers rather than self-employed.

Analysis from Editor in Chief- Iwan Doherty

I am not a legal expert but even I can see that our judiciary is struggling with our outdated laws and definitions regarding the classification and rights of workers. The country needs to modernise its laws regarding workers rights to cope with the changes in the nature of employment. Deliveroo workers are workers and should be able to be represented by Unions for negotiations regarding pay and sick leave. Holiday pay was first enshrined into law in 1938 it should not be denied to workers in 2018.


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