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Deliveroo couriers union raises almost £10,000 in one day for legal challenge

by IWGB Staff
30 July 2018 04:59
  • Outpouring of generosity shows strength of feeling against companies that sidestep employment law – IWGB Vice President
  • On 12 June IWGB has an oral hearing before the High Court which, if successful, will allow the union to appeal and earlier decision denying Deliveroo couriers employment rights.
  • By classifying its couriers as independent contractors Deliveroo denies them basic employment rights such as a guaranteed minimum wage and holiday pay.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), the union for workers in the so-called “gig economy”, has raised nearly £10,000 in just one day to help cover cost liabilities in its ongoing employment rights case against Deliveroo.

On 12 June, the IWGB will have an oral hearing before the High Court which it hopes will overturn a decision preventing the union from seeking a judicial review of a ruling denying Deliveroo couriers employment rights.

The IWGB hopes to raise a total of £50,000 to cover existing and potential legal costs the union could be held liable for by the courts as part of its challenge against Deliveroo. The money raised so far will cover the £10,000 in legal costs the IWGB was saddled with by Deliveroo after having its initial application for judicial review rejected.

IWGB Vice President Mags Dewhurst said: “This unprecedented outpouring of generosity shows most people see right through Deliveroo’s bogus claims of offering flexibility and progress, when in reality their model is based on tearing up our most basic employment protections. Deliveroo might have millions in venture-capital cash, but we have the backing of the people and this gives us confidence that we will prevail”

The IWGB brought a case against Deliveroo for union recognition and worker status last year, arguing that by classifying its couriers as independent contractors, Deliveroo was unlawfully denying them basic employment rights, including a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and collective bargaining rights.

Despite the overwhelming support of Deliveroo couriers for a collective bargaining unit, due to a legal loophole, the Central Arbitration Committee, a tribunal dealing with issues related to collective bargaining, ruled that the couriers could not be considered workers. The tribunal said the couriers were in fact independent contractors because they had a genuine right to find a substitute to do their job for them.

If the union is successful in the 12 June hearing, it will be able to challenge the loophole used by Deliveroo to deny its couriers employment rights. The IWGB will say that the CAC erred in the facts and as a matter of law when it ruled that the substitution clause in Deliveroo’s contract meant the couriers were in fact independent contractors.

Tweets in support of the campaign have been sent out by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP, Green Party co-leaders Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley and film maker Ken Loach.

The IWGB is being represented by barristers John Hendy QC and Katherine Newton, and solicitors Harrison Grant.

The crowdfund can be found here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/deliverjustice/

Updates on the campaign can be found following the hashtag #deliverjustice.

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