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Deliveroo drivers are not workers

On 21 November 2023, the Supreme Court has decided that Deliveroo riders are not workers.

The status of the food delivery giant's army of couriers was the subject of a seven-year

judicial dispute launched by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

Using article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights as support, it contended that

they need to be regarded as workers as opposed to self-employed and had the ability to

organize a collective bargaining unit.

However, the Supreme Court unanimously decided yesterday that there was no employment

relationship between the company and the riders. Multiple factors, including their unfettered

right to designate another person to replace them on deliveries, are essentially at odds with

the idea of an employment relationship.

The judgment says: “Riders are thus free to reject offers of work, to make themselves

unavailable and to undertake work for competitors (…), these features are fundamentally

inconsistent with any notion of an employment relationship”.

Finally, it seems that one of the most important factors in determining whether an individual is a worker, is whether they have an obligation of personal performance.

Indeed, in the Pimlico Plumbers Ltd. v. Smith and the Uber v. Aslam cases, the Supreme

Court has ruled the plumbers and drivers should be considered workers. The main difference between these cases and the situation of Deliveroo’s riders lies particularly in the terms of agreements they have concluded with Deliveroo, which include the unfettered right to designate another person to replace them on deliveries.


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