January 9, 2017 / 6:24 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-UK law firm considers making claim for workers' rights at Deliveroo

(Adds comment from Deliveroo)

LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) - British law firm Leigh Day is advising drivers at takeaway foods delivery firm Deliveroo on the possibility of taking legal action to gain workers’ rights such as the minimum wage, in a further challenge to the flourishing ‘gig economy’.

In October two drivers represented by Leigh Day won the right to be treated as workers by Uber in a move which the taxi app operator is seeking to appeal against but could benefit tens of thousands of drivers across the country.

Deliveroo bicycle and motorbike riders, with their distinctive black and teal jackets, have become a familiar sight on London streets since the firm started trading in 2013, delivering food from restaurants to customers.

In August, however, the firm started paying riders per delivery rather than per hour, sparking an outcry. It later apologised, saying its riders could opt out of the new system.

On Monday Leigh Day said it was looking into potential legal action against the firm which is one of many to operate in the so-called ‘gig economy’ where individuals work for multiple employers day-to-day without having a fixed contract.

“We will argue that Deliveroo has no reasonable grounds to argue that its riders are self-employed contractors and that it should immediately ensure that its riders are paid at least the National Minimum Wage and receive paid holiday,” said lawyer Annie Powell.

Deliveroo said on average its riders earned more than the national living wage, which is currently the same as the minimum wage of 7.20 pounds ($8.80) per hour for those aged 25 years and over, and the firm continued to attract new drivers.

“Over 10,000 people apply to ride with us each week, which shows that working with Deliveroo is popular and valued by riders right across the country,” a spokesman said. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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