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On 21 November, the UK's highest court ruled that, unlike Uber drivers, Deliveroo delivery staff are not in an ‘employment relationship’ for the purposes of European human rights law.

The judgement stems from 7 years of litigation, initiated by the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) trade union, which began with the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) ruling that Deliveroo riders were not ‘workers’ within the meaning of section 296 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

The IWGB appealed on the basis that the CAC had not dealt properly with IWGB’s arguments concerning collective bargaining rights under article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This position was rejected by the both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, at which point the case reached the Supreme Court (SC).

The SC has held that people working for Deliveroo can’t be considered employees because they don’t have specified hours, can work for rival companies, and can appoint someone to work in their place.

As mentioned by Alan Bogg in his blog post for the Oxford Human Rights Hub, the fundamental issue for the Supreme Court was whether the Riders were in an ‘employment relationship’ as defined by the ILO Employment Relationship Recommendation, 2006 (No 198). However, Alan Bogg proceeds to explain how the judgement is a misapplication of the ILO instrument. The full article can be accessed here.

The full judgement can be found annexed to this page.

For more information, please also refer to the article published by the Institute of Employment Rights.