Working out the finer legal points of the gig economy has been a key pastime for the UK legal system over the last couple of years, and it's just upheld a previous ruling that Deliveroo drivers are not employed by the company and therefore can't negotiate as a group.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain challenged a judgement by the Central Arbitration Committee that the delivery drivers are self-employed, arguing that their human rights were contravened by the decision. The High Court was having absolutely none of it, and reiterated that the riders are self-employed because they can 'substitute' for each other: in other words, drivers can swap places on jobs if they want to.
Mr Justice Supperstone stated that because the riders "are not in an employment relationship" with Deliveroo, they can't band together to negotiate things like pay and benefits, a right called 'collective bargaining' under the law.
The Independent Workers Union is less than thrilled with the result:
"Today's judgement is a terrible one, not just in terms of what it means for low-paid Deliveroo riders, but also in terms of understanding the European Convention on Human Rights.
Deliveroo riders should be entitled to basic worker rights, as well as to the ability to be represented by trade unions to negotiate pay and terms and conditions."
Meanwhile, Deliveroo is unsurprisingly delighted, although totes on behalf of the riders and not at all because giving them rights would cost money. MD Dan Warne the ruling is "a victory for riders who have consistently told us the flexibility to choose when and where they work, which comes with self-employment, is their number one reason for riding with Deliveroo."
What do you think – should the people biking us burgers have the right to unions and group negotiation, or should they work somewhere else if they're after security? Let us know in the comments.
Main image: Shopblocks via Flickr CC