Deliveroo riders are gearing up for a legal challenge against the startup over rights to holiday pay, minimum wage and other benefits.
Some 20 drivers have started the process to begin an employment tribunal with the same law firm which won a landmark case for workers rights for Uber drivers last year, and 200 in total have expressed interest in joining the claim.
Lawyers at Leigh Day will argue that delivery drivers for the startup are not self-employed because they are given instructions, are subject to performance reviews and rates of pay are determined by Deliveroo.
“The idea that Deliveroo riders are self-employed contractors in business on their own account and that Deliveroo is a customer of each rider’s business is absurd," said employment lawyer at the firm Annie Powell.
“Deliveroo riders carry out the sole function of Deliveroo – to deliver food and drink from restaurants to customers – and are tightly controlled by Deliveroo in what is clearly a dependent work relationship," she said.
"We will argue that Deliveroo has no reasonable grounds to argue that its riders are self-employed contractors and that it should immediately ensure that its riders are paid at least the National Minimum Wage and receive paid holiday.
"We will also argue that Deliveroo’s dismissal of young riders who do not meet Deliveroo’s new minimum age requirement is a clear case of unlawful age discrimination for which the riders should be compensated.”
The 20 riders are going through the process of getting permission from Acas which is needed to take the case to an employment tribunal and this could come as soon as next month.
A Deliveroo spokesperson said: "We are proud to offer flexible, well-paid work to over 15,000 self-employed UK riders, and receive over 10,000 new applications every week.
"Riders choose when and where to ride with us, and for how long, giving them the flexibility and freedom to work with us around their other commitments such as studying, running a small business or working for another company. We will continue to work closely with our riders to ensure that as the company continues to grow in the UK, our riders continue to benefit from that growth."
The Uber case is subject to an appeal but its initial findings - that they area classified as workers and not self-employed - were echoed in a similar case involving Pimlico Plumbers. That case is also subject to appeal.
The fresh case comes amid an independent review of the gig economy and workers rights by the government. A report of its findings is due this summer.