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Supreme Court Decision: Deliveroo Exempt from Legal Obligation

Supreme Court Rules Deliveroo Exempt from Union Engagement Mandate

In a recent ruling, judges have determined that Deliveroo cannot be legally obligated to engage with a union representing its riders for collective bargaining purposes. The decision marks the culmination of a protracted dispute initiated by a union seeking to advocate for a group of riders regarding pay and working conditions.

Despite the case being dismissed by lower courts, an appeal was pursued, ultimately reaching the Supreme Court. The judges, including Judge Vivien Rose, unanimously upheld the dismissal, asserting that Deliveroo riders lack an “employment relationship” with the company, thus negating compulsory collective bargaining entitlements.

Lady Rose and Lord Lloyd-Jones, in their judgment, highlighted various factors, such as riders’ autonomy to decline work offers and the option to work for Deliveroo’s competitors, deeming them “fundamentally inconsistent” with an employment relationship warranting collective bargaining.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the union behind the case, expressed disappointment with the ruling, emphasizing the necessity of key protections like collective bargaining rights for riders. Despite the setback, the IWGB stated its commitment to exploring alternative legal avenues.

The case is part of a broader trend in the “gig” economy, where workers seek rights such as holiday pay, minimum wage, and pension contributions. The IWGB initially faced rejection in 2017 when it sought representation for riders, categorized as self-employed by the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).

In response to the ruling, the IWGB argued that flexibility, including account substitution options, should not justify denying workers basic entitlements like fair pay and collective bargaining rights.

Deliveroo, maintaining its stance that riders are self-employed, welcomed the judgment as a positive outcome, highlighting the flexibility valued by riders in self-employed work. The company also mentioned a 2021 “voluntary partnership agreement” with the GMB Union, providing collective bargaining rights on pay and consultation, while still recognizing riders as self-employed.

by Paul Britton

Full-time CBG author covering everything from business to wellbeing news, in Cyprus. and abroad.
Tags: Deliveroo

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