Last reviewed 23 February 2021

The rights and wrongs of the gig economy have been argued out once again this week as the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) challenged a previous High Court ruling that Article 11 (Freedom of Association) in the Human Rights Act does not apply to Deliveroo riders.

The court decided that Article 11 does not apply to Deliveroo riders because they are not classified as limb (b) workers. The term “limb (b)” comes from s.230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and refers to people working other than under a contract of employment.

The IWGB has taken the case to the Court of Appeal where it is arguing that Article 11 extends beyond the category of limb (b) workers.

Despite being key workers compelled to work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the union claimed, couriers are still being refused a say over working conditions and the opportunity for collective bargaining.

Greg Howard, Deliveroo rider and IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch Chairman, said: “The IWGB believes we have a legal and moral right to collective bargaining and that after working throughout this crisis, we deserve more from Deliveroo. We are determined to fight for those rights.”

Deliveroo has just completed a new funding round of over $180 million from existing investors, valuing the business at over $7 billion. CEO Will Shu said that it is expecting increased growth in 2021 and beyond.

The decision of the Court of Appeal is not expected for several weeks.

Comment by Kate Palmer, HR Advice and Consultancy Director at Peninsula

This case’s outcome may have a crucial effect on employers who rely on the gig economy, but it is still unclear if the judgment will favour the riders.

If it does, similar employers may find themselves in the same legal position as Deliveroo. For now, all that employers who are at risk of being affected by a judgment in favour of the riders can do is keep up to date with the outcome of this case.