The Central Arbitration Committee has ruled that Deliveroo riders are self-employed, so the company has no legal obligation to pay the minimum wage or holiday pay.
The CAC admitted there are “clearly concerns about the precarious nature of the work and the wider debate around the gig economy”.
However, because the riders can allocate someone else to cover their work, they are effectively self-employed.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which brought the case against the food delivery company, said the judgement shows that riders “are not satisfied with their current terms and conditions and want worker rights”, including holiday pay and minimum wage.
The union also said that Deliveroo had managed to “game the system”. Indeed, the company made a number of changes to contracts for its workers just before the tribunal hearing. This included the ability to bring in a substitute to replace them and the removal of the requirement to wear branded clothing.
IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee said: “On the basis of a new contract introduced by Deliveroo’s army of lawyers just weeks before the tribunal hearing, the CAC decided that because a rider can have a mate do a delivery for them, Deliveroo’s low paid workers are not entitled to basic protections.”
Deliveroo welcomed the decision. The company has previously said it would pay sickness and injury benefits to its riders if laws were changed.
The UK government is currently grappling with how to deal with working standards in the ballooning gig economy.