The legal action is being brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of 45 Deliveroo riders.
The claim argues that riders at Deliveroo should be classified as either employees or workers rather than self-employed contractors. This would entitle the riders to employment rights, such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
A preliminary hearing begins today (2 November 2017) at the Central London employment tribunal. The hearing is due to be held in private. An employment judge will schedule the timetable for the case as it moves forward, including setting a date for the hearing to decide riders’ employment status.
A spokesperson at Deliveroo said: “Deliveroo offers flexible well-paid work to thousands of riders across the UK. Riders make over £9.50 an hour with us on average, significantly more than the national living wage. With over 10,000 applications each week, it’s clear that the flexible working that is inherent to self-employment is hugely popular. The vast majority of riders want to be self-employed as they value flexible working above all else. Should riders be re-classified, the flexibility they value would be lost.
“Deliveroo has been clear that we want to be able to offer riders greater security such as injury pay and sick pay alongside flexible work, but we are currently constrained by the law. That’s why we have called on the government to update legislation so we can end the trade off between flexibility and security that currently exists in law.”
Annie Powell, solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, who is representing the riders, added: “At the moment, Deliveroo riders are given no employment protection whatsoever; if they’re involved in an accident when [they’re] at work, they receive no sick pay; if they want to take time off, they are given no holiday pay, and they are not guaranteed the national minimum wage.
“From the evidence we have seen, some of our clients have been paid significantly below the national minimum wage, with shortfalls ranging from tens of pounds to hundreds of pounds below the legal minimum. We are claiming that these riders are employees of Deliveroo and that Deliveroo is acting unlawfully in denying riders these rights.
“All of the riders we represent in this claim work shifts and are paid by the hour. It is not the case, as Deliveroo has claimed, that they can log in and work whenever they want. Our argument is that these riders are controlled, managed and disciplined by Deliveroo and that they clearly do not carry out their own delivery businesses, as Deliveroo argues.”