Meal delivery app Deliveroo has won a case in the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) to confirm that its delivery riders are not “workers”.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had sought to argue that riders were workers so that they could claim union recognition. This would also have afforded them certain rights, such as to the minimum wage and holiday and sick pay.
But the CAC rejected this stance, in a decision which hinged on the riders' ability to turn down a job both before and after accepting it.
“‘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,” said the CAC's panel in its decision.
Deliveroo has hailed the result as a triumph for the gig economy and flexible working. “This is a victory for all riders who have continuously told us that flexibility is what they value most about working with Deliveroo,” said the company's managing director Dan Warne.
“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 Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected Uber's argument that it is merely an agent connecting drivers and passengers, on the basis that drivers could not set their own rates and were compelled to accept a certain percentage of trips when working (a point which Uber disputes).