Deliveroo riders defeated in High Court battle over collective bargaining rights

James Booth
Union acting for a group of Deliveroo drivers defeated in gig economy case (Source: Getty)

A union acting for a group of Deliveroo riders was defeated today in a High Court fight over whether the delivery firm’s drivers were entitled to collective bargaining rights.

In a key decision on the future of the gig economy the court ruled that Deliveroo riders are self-employed and therefore would not be allowed to collectively bargain through a trade union as they were not workers or employees.

A spokesperson for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) said the decision was “a terrible one” and said they would appeal.

Dan Warne, UK managing director of Deliveroo said: "We are pleased that today's judgment upholds the earlier decisions of the High Court and the CAC [Central Arbitration Committee] that Deliveroo riders are self-employed, providing them the flexibility they want. In addition to emphatically confirming this under UK national law, the court also carefully examined the question under European law and concluded riders are self-employed.”

IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee 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”.

Ride sharing firm Uber is currently waiting on the Court of Appeal to see if it will reverse an earlier judgment that said some of its drivers should be classed as workers rather than self employed.

Legal line-up

Lewis Silkin partner Colin Leckey acted for Deliveroo, instructed by Deliveroo’s head of employment Tarun Tawakley. Lewis Silkin instructed Chris Jeans QC and Tom Cross of 11 KBW.

IWGB was represented by Harrison Grant and instructed John Hendy QC, Katharine Newton and Madeline Stacey of Old Square.