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A landmark case has ruled that delivery riders for food delivery start-up, Deliveroo, are actually self-employed and not workers; the long-running battle has concluded in favourof Deliveroo, and against the IWGB union which represents Deliveroo drivers.

The Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) which resolves workplace disputes has found in favour of the meal-delivery app, Deliveroo, confirming that their drivers are not workers, and therefore not eligible for worker’s rights, such as National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) which represents gig economy workers, including Uber and Deliveroo riders, put forward that Deliveroo riders are workers, and as a result, should be able to claim recognition from unions.

Freedom to decline jobs

The CAC said, “the central and insuperable difficulty for the union is that we find that the substitution right to be genuine, in the sense that Deliveroo have decided in the new contract that riders have a right to substitute themselves both before and after they have accepted a particular job.”

This refers to the Deliveroo practice that riders are able to swap shifts, providing they are able to find a replacement driver, and therefore cannot be classed as workers.

The decision hinged on the fact that riders are able to accept and reject particular jobs that they are allocated.

Dan Warne, director of Deliveroo, said, “this is a victory for all riders who have continuously told us that flexibility is what they value most about working with Deliveroo.

“As we have consistently argued, our riders value the flexibility that self-employment provides. Riders enjoy being their own boss – having the freedom to choose when and where they work, and riding with other delivery companies at the same time.”

The news comes just days before MPs began the process of seeking the introduction of new rules which aim to give gig economy workers more protections during working life, including Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders.

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