Deliveroo workers are employees, not freelancers: court

Deliveroo wrongly classifies its delivery workers as freelancers, a Dutch court ruled on Tuesday in two cases filed by union FNV. There is an employment contract, which means that deliverers should be considered employees and be covered by the collective bargaining agreement for professional goods transport, the court ruled, reports.

The court ruled that delivery workers can now claim employment and that Deliveroo must apply the collective bargaining agreement retroactively. Deliveroo announced that it will appeal against the ruling. 

According to the court, there is an authority relationship between the company and its delivery workers. The question is whether delivery workers are really free to schedule their workday as they please - a deliverer is more likely to get an assignment if he or she made themselves available for a specific period in advance, the judge said. Furthermore, the agreement signed by deliverers is a standard contract that was drawn up unilaterally by Deliveroo and was not negotiated.

The judge added that there are also problems with how Deliveroo determines remuneration for its deliverers. "There is little or no room for negotiation about the tariff in the system. That prices are actually being negotiated has not been shown."

Deliveroo decided to convert the employee contracts for its delivery staff into "partner agreements as an independent entrepreneur" early last year. This made the delivery staff freelancers, which according to the company gave them more freedom to fill in their work and workdays themselves. FNV  opposed the change, calling it a disguised employment contract.

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, now wants a debate with Minister Wouter Koolmees of Social Affairs and Employment to discuss the possible consequences of this ruling. PvdA parliamentarian Gijs van Dijk, who called for the debate and received the support of a vast majority, called this a "beautiful day" in the fight against false self-employment. 


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