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Union wins first stage of High Court challenge over Deliveroo riders

The IWGB wants the court to overturn a ruling which confirmed the ‘self-employed’ status of those working for the delivery firm.

A union has been given the go-ahead for a High Court challenge over the employment status of Deliveroo riders in the latest “gig economy” case.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) wants the court to overturn a ruling which confirmed the “self-employed” status of those working for the delivery firm.

Mrs Justice Simler gave the union permission for a full judicial review of the ruling, given by the Central Arbitration Committee in November last year.

The CAC, which considers union recognition and collective bargaining cases, rejected an application by the IWGB to represent drivers in parts of north London.

The committee concluded that because riders are able to pass on a job to a substitute, or to abandon a job, they were not obliged to provide a “personal service” and therefore could not be classified as “workers”.

The union said that, as independent contractors, the riders are “denied basic employment rights” including a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and collective bargaining rights.

Crowdfunding for the legal costs of the case has reached £23,000 so far.

Deliveroo claimed a victory after the CAC’s ruling and called for a change in employment law so it could offer benefits such as sick pay to its riders, while “maintaining flexibility”.

Mrs Justice Simler rejected a number of the union’s arguments, but said it was “arguable” that the CAC should have considered the right of the Deliveroo riders to bargain collectively – as enshrined in Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

No date was set for the case, which will be heard over a day and a half.

Deliveroo has long argued that the self-employed should have access to greater protections, and we welcome any debate on how that can best be achieved

A Deliveroo spokesman said: “Today’s decision has clearly upheld the central finding of the CAC, which is that Deliveroo riders are self-employed.

“This is good news for Deliveroo riders, who value the ability to choose when and where to work.

“The court has allowed a limited challenge on human rights grounds.

“Deliveroo has long argued that the self-employed should have access to greater protections, and we welcome any debate on how that can best be achieved.

“Today’s decision was reached having considered the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the Pimlico Plumbers case, and emphatically rejects the union’s challenge based on this judgment.”

Deliveroo should take a serious look at itself and ask itself whether it really wants to save a bit of money at the expense of the human rights of the individuals who make their business a success IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee

IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said: “What’s happened today is this case has become not just an employment rights issue, but rather a matter of fundamental human rights.

“Deliveroo should take a serious look at itself and ask itself whether it really wants to save a bit of money at the expense of the human rights of the individuals who make their business a success.”

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