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Uber did it, Deliveroo did not

Earlier this year, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers are ‘employees’, eligible to receive minimum wage and holiday pay (further discussed here). And now, Deliveroo riders tried to argue the same, but their ‘self-employed’ status was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

Deliveroo riders have been trying since 2017 to unionise and be ‘workers’, with reported earnings of as little as £2 an hour. The Court held that, while drivers were allowed to organise collectively, they should not do so through a trade union.

The reasoning given was that they cannot be classed as ‘employees’ because they do not fall under the Article 11 ECHR definition. As such, the Uber case had no bearing on the present case, as it did not discuss the interpretation of Article 11.

Moreover, another reason was the allowing of ‘substitution’. The terms of drivers’ employment allows for riders to subcontract deliveries they accept, and so deliveries are performed by a third party. The ability to do as such falls within the ‘self-employed’ category, rather than the ‘employed’ one.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was the fourth ruling in this case, with permission to appeal to the Supreme Court being denied. It would thus seem that this decision is going to be maintained until a claim on different grounds can be brought. Deliveroo’s shares rose by 9% after the ruling.

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