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IWGB challenges Deliveroo’s refusal of collective bargaining as a human right in Court of Appeal

01 February 2021 03:58
  • Case will be heard in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 February.
  • Based on Article 11 (Freedom of Association) in the Human Rights Act, the case could extend collective bargaining rights to hundreds of thousands of ‘gig economy’ and frontline workers.

1 February: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) challenges Deliveroo in the Court of Appeal this week, in a bid to establish the right to collective bargaining for couriers working for Deliveroo. Despite being key workers compelled to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, couriers are still being refused a say over working conditions and the opportunity for collective bargaining. This comes at a time when Deliveroo’s is set to potentially have a bumper Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the coming months.

The significance of this issue is reflected in recent reports showing a third of food delivery sector strikes and campaign actions globally are targeted at Deliveroo. Concerns range from precarious working conditions and sub-minimum wage pay to Covid-19 health and safety. Another key issue is unfair terminations without due process or even the provision of evidence of alleged wrongdoing. In December a cross-party group of over 60 MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling on Deliveroo to introduce a fair terminations process. Like trade union recognition, these are issues are key to the union’s #ClappedAndScrapped campaign which is demanding essential rights for essential app-based workers.

IWGB appealed a previous High Court ruling that Article 11 (Freedom of Association) does not apply to Deliveroo riders because they are not classified as limb (b) workers. In their case, to be heard this week, the union will argue Article 11 extends beyond the category of limb (b) workers. The case will be heard in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 February with a delayed verdict.

Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and IWGB Couriers & Logistics Branch Chair says: "Despite a slick PR campaign claiming to support riders and endless spin for MPs about how happy we are with the current model, Deliveroo has wracked up huge costs on this case to silence us. The IWGB believes we have a legal and moral right to collective bargaining and that after working throughout this crisis, we deserve more from Deliveroo. We are determined to fight for those rights.”

Cristian Santabarbara, Deliveroo rider and IWGB York Chair, says: "The pandemic has proven how little Deliveroo really cares about us. We literally built this company on our backs. Will Shu could make £350 million from Deliveroo’s initial public offering but still can't be bothered to ensure our basic rights or even access to restaurant toilets. It's cowardly to treat frontline workers as disposable, especially after we've kept people fed and helped protect the vulnerable in these unprecedented times."

Ian Morrison, a Deliveroo scooter rider based in London, says: "After my scooter was stolen they did nothing to help. It's put me on edge looking for threats and then when you throw in rain, wind or snow, and all the traffic, the job becomes pretty dangerous. Most riders refuse to wear the branded jacket as it just makes you a target. I'm part of the IWGB union to make things better and safer for every rider. Collective bargaining rights would make sure all our ideas about how to do that are heard."

The IWGB was represented by Lord John Hendy QC, Katharine Newton QC and Madeline Stanley of Old Square Chambers and Magdalena Gray of Harrison Grant Solicitors.

For more information, contact
Marienna Pope-Weidemann
07380 194 788 / [email protected]

To follow proceedings remotely, email your request to [email protected] citing appeal ref. C1/2018/3104 claim no. CO/810/2018.

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