Labour politician and member of Parliament for Birkenhead Frank Field (pictured) has launched an inquiry into the pay and working conditions of riders working for delivery organisation Deliveroo.
The five-week inquiry, launched on 18 June 2018, will gather evidence from Deliveroo riders in order to better understand the living standards of individuals working as part of the gig economy. The inquiry will also explore whether there is a need for additional safeguards for these types of workers.
The inquiry will include a roundtable, organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), to enable Deliveroo riders to present oral evidence of their experiences working for the organisation. Field will further write to Deliveroo to ask a series of questions regarding riders’ pay and working conditions.
The inquiry will look to support previous reports Field has published, in conjunction with senior researcher Andrew Forsey, over the last two years. These have collected testimonies from individuals working for organisations such as Hermes, Uber, DPD and Parcelforce, which utilise self-employed contractors, and explored issues such as low pay and employment status.
A spokesperson at Deliveroo said: “Deliveroo offers riders flexible, well-paid work because this is what we know they want. Riders value having the freedom to choose when, where and whether to work, and this flexibility is only available through self-employment. The self-employed status of Deliveroo riders has been repeatedly confirmed in the courts.
“Deliveroo would be happy to contribute to a balanced inquiry which acknowledges the benefits of self-employment, and which takes forward our calls on policy-makers to end the trade-off between flexibility and security that currently exists in employment law, so we can continue to improve our offer to riders.”
Field said: “The weight of the evidence I’ve seen shows that bogus self-employment is being peddled by those who benefit so handsomely from the gig economy, to avoid the obligations they have to their workforce. I now wish to see if this is a partial view or whether it, sadly, represents what is going on in yet another [organisation] operating in the gig economy.”
Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary at the IWGB, added: “Following on from last week’s High Court decision that our workers’ and human rights case against Deliveroo can proceed for judicial review, [this] announcement is another important step in achieving justice for low paid Deliveroo riders. I’m familiar with how Deliveroo justifies its actions in legalese, but I do look forward to seeing how they justify depriving riders of fundamental human rights in their evidence to Frank Field.”