Union to take Deliveroo to Supreme Court over collective bargaining rights

IWGB demand changes to Deliveroo's hardship fundsThe Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has commenced proceedings in order to take food delivery service Deliveroo to the Supreme Court over collective bargaining rights.

According to the union, the partnership deal the business signed with trade union GMB earlier this year, which began this month, failed to address problems with its employment practices in proposed negotiations, including a lack of holiday pay, pensions, over-hiring and unpaid restaurant waiting times.

Through the court case, IWGB said it is seeking the right to negotiate improvements to all aspects of couriers’ working life, such as pay, hours and holidays. If it wins, Deliveroo’s couriers would be classified as workers, which could set a precedent for collective bargaining rights across the gig economy.

The union stated that this case could pave the way for a future worker status claim to ensure that Deliveroo couriers have both basic worker rights and flexibility.

IWGB has worked with Deliveroo couriers since 2016 around pay, precarity, and safety. In April 2021, it coordinated strikes during the employer’s initial public offering (IPO) and in May this year, IWGB members attended the first annual general meeting (AGM) to question the board on its employment practices.

A Deliveroo spokesperson said: “UK courts have repeatedly found Deliveroo riders to be self-employed, which is the only status that offers riders the freedom and control they value. This case focuses solely on very narrow issues related to the right to collective bargaining in the UK.

“Even in this very narrow context, the UK courts have found Deliveroo riders to be self-employed and Deliveroo fully expects this to remain the case going forwards. Our voluntary recognition agreement with the GMB Union gives riders guaranteed earnings, representation and benefits.”

Alex Marshall, president of IWGB, added: “It is outrageous that Deliveroo is continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds fighting the IWGB in court over collective bargaining rights when it has just granted collective bargaining rights to another unrepresentative union. Deliveroo should be investing this money in courier pay and conditions.

“Clearly, Deliveroo accepts the legitimacy of collective bargaining for couriers, but is simply not prepared to engage in collective bargaining with the union that has the largest membership of gig-economy couriers.”