Food delivery business Deliveroo has agreed a recognition deal with trade union GMB covering the company’s 90,000 drivers and riders.
The GMB described the agreement as “historic” and said that the workers had gained new rights when it came to disputes, collective bargaining on pay, and consultation rights on benefits and other issues, including health, safety and wellbeing.
Union officials said the deal recognised that Deliveroo riders were self-employed, acknowledging that a series of UK court judgments had confirmed this status.
National officer Mick Rix claimed the agreement was “the first of its kind in the world.”
He added: “Tens of thousands of riders for one of the world’s largest online food delivery services will now be covered by a collective agreement that gives them a voice, including pay talks, guaranteed earnings, and representation in times of difficulty.
“Riders deserve respect for the work they do; and Deliveroo deserves praise for developing this innovative agreement with GMB – a blueprint for those working in the platform self-employed sector.
“This is a valuable contribution in making work better and to the future world of work.”
Employment bill proposals
Will Shu, Deliveroo founder and chief executive, said the company was delighted to “partner with the GMB in this first-of-its-kind voluntary agreement, giving self-employed riders flexibility, guaranteed earnings, representation and benefits”.
He added that Deliveroo had “long called for riders to have both flexibility and security and this innovative agreement is exactly the sort of partnership the on-demand economy should be based on.
“This voluntary partnership is based on a shared commitment between the GMB and Deliveroo to rider welfare and wellbeing. Together, we are focusing on what matters most to riders.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady also praised the deal. She said it would pave the way for improved workers’ rights, adding: “After GMB’s breakthrough agreement with Uber last year, this is another landmark agreement that will give Deliveroo riders a real voice at work.”
She said that unions were “starting to win the fight against insecure work and would not rest until platform companies across the gig economy agree to work with their staff on improving pay and conditions”.
O’Grady called on the government to play it part because UK employment and union law needed “dragging into the 21st century”.
The TUC accused the government of “turning its back” on working people after ministers failed to include an employment bill in the Queen’s Speech on Tuesday.
In 2019, the government announced it would bring forward a new employment bill to improve people’s rights at work, but despite committing to the bill on at least 20 occasions, ministers shelved the legislation.