24 February 2017
Deliveroo has told a government Select Committee that it will drop a clause in the contracts it offers its so-called “self-employed” delivery workers, which aims to dissuade them from enforcing their rights at tribunal.
Giving oral evidence to the Select Committee for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as part of its inquiry into the Future World of Work and Rights of Workers, Deliveroo Managing Director Dan Warne told MPs the company would “revise” the clause, which legal experts have claimed is “unenforceable”.
The clause, which was read aloud during the Select Committee hearing, says: “You further warrant that neither you, nor anyone acting on your behalf, will present any claim in an employment tribunal or any civil court in which it is contended you are either an employee or a worker.”
It was inserted into contracts with those working for Deliveroo in July 2016 amid mounting concern that “gig” workers were losing out on rights after being misclassified as “self-employed”. Indeed, three months later, Uber lost a case brought by the GMB when an employment tribunal found that its taxi drivers should be classed as “workers” and should therefore have the right to rest breaks, minimum wage, and holiday and sick pay.
Business Insider reports that Warne was evasive when responding to probes from MPs around the clause during the Committee hearing on Wednesday (22 February 2017), claiming that Deliveroo would not stop workers from taking cases to tribunal.
“In practice, if they wished to contest their status, they could do so and we wouldn’t challenge them on that,” he said. “Do we need to make some revisions in those contracts? Yes. Will those revisions be made in the next couple of weeks? Certainly yes. This is not something that’s enforced, so there’s no need to have it in there,” he added.
Warne also revealed that most Deliveroo riders are cyclists under the age of 25 and that there are 15,000 couriers working for the company in the UK. The company is looking into offering its riders pensions, he said, so long as it does not “compromise” their working status.