Last year, we reported that the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) had bucked the recent trend in 'gig economy' cases in the Employment Tribunal by deciding that Deliveroo riders were not workers. Now a Judicial Review of the CAC's decision to the High Court has also been unsuccessful.
Deliveroo riders had taken a different approach to the more widely reported 'gig economy' cases of Uber, Pilmico Plumbers and Addison Lee, by broaching the issue of their worker status via an application for trade union recognition. The Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain submitted an application to the CAC to be recognised for collective bargaining in respect of Deliveroo riders in Camden, which was unsuccessful on the grounds that their members did not have worker status. We provided an explantion of the CAC's reasoning in our previous article.
In a Judicial Review of the CAC's decision at the High Court, the Union argued that the right to bargain collectively is an essential part of a person's right to freedom of assembly and association under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Union argued Article 11 meant that the UK's laws in this area should be interpreted so as not to exclude individuals whose contracts do not technically satisfy the requirement of personal service (ie those who did not have worker status). The High Court rejected this argument, finding that restricting recognition rights to employees and workers was a proportionate restriction that achieved a fair balance with the competing interest of ensuring business freedom.
We wait to see if it will be third time lucky at the Court of Appeal - the Union has already tweeted its intention to appeal.