Food delivery app firm Deliveroo has paid compensation to 50 of its riders who who said they were denied employment rights, including National Minimum Wage and paid holiday.
The riders, represented by law firm Leigh Day, all worked as couriers for the company which labelled them as ‘self-employed suppliers’. Lawyers from the employment department at Leigh Day argued that this was unlawful.
The amount the employees were awarded is undisclosed but it is rumoured to be a six-figure settlement. Deliveroo told Catering Today that it paid the settlement without admission of liability.
The settlement of the case was due to go to an employment tribunal in mid-July, with the high court backing a decision by the central arbitration committee which said riders were not classified as workers as they were able to pass on a job to a colleague.
Some of the claims made by the riders included that they were instructed to work at least two weekend shifts each week and were punished for poor attendance. The also claimed that the company tracked them using GPS and used the data to produce weekly performance statistics.
Shifts were also reduced as punishment for poor performance and attendance, and riders were not allowed to ask another employee to cover their shift without Deliveroo’s permission – which the employees say the company rarely gave.
One rider was paid £538.14 below the National Minimum Wage in his first eight weeks of working for Deliveroo, not taking into account expenses.
Lead Claimant Ashley Christie, who worked for Deliveroo for just over a year, claimed £2,541.31 in underpayment of National Minimum Wage – this took into account essential work-related expenses such as petrol and bike repairs.
Annie Powell, who represented the riders, said: “Deliveroo has paid out a material sum to settle these claims. In our view, this shows that Deliveroo knew that they were very likely to lose at the Employment Tribunal. This settlement will make a real difference to our clients’ lives.
“Some of the riders we represented were on the breadline, earning hundreds and in some cases thousands of pounds below the National Minimum Wage over the time that they worked for Deliveroo.”
Powell also called on Deliveroo to change its practices and ensure riders are paid the minimum wage and receive holiday pay. She also said that she hoped the Parliamentary inquiry into the company would consider a compensation scheme for riders not paid minimum wage or holiday pay.
She added: “There are thousands of other Deliveroo riders who have not yet received any compensation for Deliveroo’s refusal to provide basic employment rights. If Deliveroo fails to compensate riders voluntarily, then current and former riders can bring further claims.”
A Deliveroo spokesperson told Catering Today: “Deliveroo is pleased to have reached a settlement, without admission of liability, on this claim.
“This settlement has no impact on Deliveroo riders or our model; and allows us to continue to focus on providing the well-paid, flexible work that riders value. Courts have carefully considered Deliveroo’s model and concluded that riders working with us are self-employed.
“Deliveroo was the first in the on-demand economy to offer riders access to free, accident insurance globally, but we want to do more. That’s why we have long called for an end to the trade off between flexibility and security that exists in employment law. We will continue to campaign for policy change to enable us to further improve our offer to riders.”