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UK Supreme Court rejects classification of Deliveroo riders as ‘workers’



The United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has unanimously rejected an appeal to class riders for online food delivery giant Deliveroo as “workers”, drawing to a close a seven-year legal battle between the firm and the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain.

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that riders were not in an “employment relationship”, meaning that trade union activity does “not apply to them” and riders can not form a collective bargaining agreement due to them being considered “self-employed”.

The Supreme Court’s Lady Rose said riders currently have the “unfettered right” to get someone to substitute in for their deliveries, something Deliveroo does not police, and that, under usual employment terms, one would not be allowed to “send someone along to do the job for you”.

She also added that Deliveroo does not object to riders working for its competitors at the same time.

The original application was filed in 2016 by IWGB to the Central Arbitration Committee, relying on Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights to mount the legal challenge. However, it declined to accept on the basis that riders were not “workers”. This decision was then upheld by both the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.

As of 1045 GMT, Deliveroo shares were down 0.64% at 139.60p.

Reporting by Iain Gilbert at

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