UK union loses latest bid to push for workers' rights at Deliveroo

FILE PHOTO: A food delivery cyclist carries a Deliveroo bag in Nice, France, June 5, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The High Court has rejected the latest attempt by a British trade union to push for workers’ rights at food courier Deliveroo, in a case which is a rare example of gig economy firms successfully defending their business models.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) wants to represent riders in the north London area of Camden, hoping to secure rights such as the minimum wage, which they are not currently entitled to, due to being classified as self-employed.

Firms such as Uber [UBER.UL] in the gig economy - where many people work for multiple employers without fixed contracts - have lost court cases in recent years over workplace rights.

But on Wednesday the High Court dismissed a claim for judicial review made by the IWGB, in a move welcomed by Deliveroo.

“The Court also carefully examined the question under European law and concluded riders are self-employed,” said the company’s UK Managing Director Dan Warne.

“This a victory for riders who have consistently told us the flexibility to choose when and where they work, which comes with self-employment, is their number-one reason for riding with Deliveroo.”

The IWGB union said it would appeal the verdict.

“Deliveroo riders should be entitled to basic worker rights as well as to the ability to be represented by trade unions to negotiate pay and terms and conditions,” said General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee.

“The IWGB will appeal this decision and continue to fight for these rights until we are victorious.”

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison