Aylesbury Deliveroo riders secure victory for workers rights

Deliveroo PR library imagery'� Mikael Buck / Deliveroo
Deliveroo PR library imagery'� Mikael Buck / Deliveroo

Scott McEvoy and Jordan Smith, Aylesbury based Deliveroo drivers have played a key role in securing a massive victory for workers rights.

A group of 50 Deliveroo couriers will share a six-figure payout from the takeaway delivery firm in a settlement of an employment rights claim.

Scott and Jordan were upset with the way delivery drivers were targeted for reduced shifts based on how fast they rode, the lack of workers rights for riders aswell as age discrimination in the company.

The riders, who were represented by the law firm Leigh Day, argued that they had been unlawfully denied rights, including the legal minimum wage and paid holiday, after being labelled self-employed contractors.

Scott said: “It’s a huge victory for us, and goes some way in ending the so-called gig economy.

“I wouldn’t have settled, its not about the money, it’s about changing the business model. We want to put an end to this with a change of attitude.

In the wake of the legal case Scott set up his own delivery company, One Delivery Ayleabury which extends to their employees all the workers rights absent from the Deliveroo model which includes earning above minimum wage.

“There were instances where people were getting £4 for a 12 hour shift, because they were slower riders weren’t selected for deliveries and punished due to stats and something they had proven was true. Deliveroo just put it down to a problem with an app but that was not the case. What they did was target the weaker riders and give them less deliveries to force them out of the company it seemed.”

Scott added: “You have a mix of kids under the age of 18, mothers trying to provide for their family and people from abroad without the relevant understanding of business law in the UK and trying their best to earn atleast the basic wage.

Scott described one instance where workers were issued with a directive that if they cyclist were caught cycling on the pavements, they would be disciplined and sacked. A week later a rider was told he had to ride on the road and not the pavement a 16 year old cyclist was knocked off his bike on Buckingham Road. After calling Deliveroo to see where he stood, they asked if he had completed his delivery. He left the company due to his injuries abd because he wasnt confident coming back. Riders had no real safety training besides a video to watch.

The case was to be the latest in a string of similar employment rights claims, against Hermes, Uber, Addison Lee, City Sprint, Excel and eCourier, which have that ruled gig economy drivers and couriers have “worker” status with more rights than independent contractors.

The settlement of the case, which was due to be heard by an employment tribunal in mid-July, comes after the high court backed a decision by the central arbitration committee, which considers union recognition cases, that Deliveroo riders were self-employed contractors.

The committee concluded that because riders were able to pass on a job to a substitute, they were not obliged to provide a “personal service” and therefore could not be classified as workers.

However, the high court gave the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain permission to launch a full judicial review of the workers’ rights to collective bargaining based on human rights grounds. Deliveroo’s hiring conditions are also to be scrutinised by MPs on July 18. For now this is a victory to the riders and to Scott and Jordan who succeeded against the fast food giant that is Deliveroo. Scott hopes although this was settled out of court and itvwas better off financially for the rest of the riders that were involved he hopes the message gets out and Deliveroo take the opportunity to change its business model so it can protect the rest of its 30+ thousand riders to basic employment and workers rights.