High Court judge agrees gig workers have human right to apply for collective bargaining

Submitted by sglenister on Fri, 15/06/2018 - 14:27

15 June 2018

A High Court judge has agreed that couriers working for gig employer Deliveroo have a human right to apply for the creation of a collective bargaining unit.

The Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) union went to the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) last November to create a collective bargaining unit among Deliveroo workers in the boroughs of Camden and Kentish Town.

Although the CAC found that a majority of couriers in these areas wanted to create a collective bargaining unit, it ruled that the riders had no legal right to collectively bargain with Deliveroo because – after a last minute change to their contracts by the firm – they were deemed to be independent contractors rather than 'workers' on the basis of their "right to substitution".

The IGWB appealed the case at the High Court today (15 June 2018), where Justice Simler agreed with the union's argument that Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights means British collective bargaining laws need to be applied in such a way as to cover Deliveroo riders.

General Secretary of the union, Jason Moyer-Lee, said: "What's happened today is this case has become not just an employment rights issue, but rather a matter of fundamental human rights."

"Deliveroo should take a serious look at itself and ask itself whether it really wants to save a bit of money at the expense of the human rights of the individuals who make their business a success."

The decision means the IGWB may now proceed to a full judicial review in front of a High Court Judge, where they will hope to overturn the decision of the CAC. However, the court refused to cap the legal liability costs that may apply to the union, which could potentially land it with a bill of over £100,000 if it is forced to cover Deliveroo's legal expenses. The hearing will last 1.5 days and a date is yet to be set.

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