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Deliveroo riders win employment status case in Dutch court

19 Feb 2021

In another ruling against the misclassification of food delivery riders’ employment status, the verdict from the Amsterdam Court of Appeal has confirmed that Deliveroo riders are genuine employees.

For Deliveroo riders this means that they are entitled to receive an hourly wage in accordance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement, paid holiday leave and pension rights. Riders will also be entitled to social protections including paid sick leave and unemployment insurance.

The Dutch Court noted in their decision on February 16, that riders’ low pay made their classification as employees especially warranted. The Court’s decision, which also factored in the significant control that the company exercises over workers via their app, refutes the sham contracting model that puts the risks associated with employment on precarious workers.

“This ruling is as clear as can be: Deliveroo riders are employees and are entitled to an employment contract. With an employment contract they are entitled to the collective labor agreement wages, continued payment in the event of illness and time they have to wait at a restaurant is also paid,” says Zakaria Boufangacha, a board member of Dutch ITF affiliate, FNV.

FNV brought this case forward on behalf of riders in 2018, when Deliveroo unilaterally reclassified riders as self-employed. Courts in Spain have also ruled that Deliveroo riders were misclassified as self-employed.

A separate case will be heard in Amsterdam on April 14 to rule on the application of the sectoral collective agreement for logistics to Deliveroo riders. In 2019, a judge agreed with the FNV on this point, however the company appealed the decision.

This win for riders comes under increased public scrutiny as Deliveroo prepares for its IPO in under three weeks’ time. Recent Deliveroo rider deaths in Italy and Spain have revealed the inherent dangers in a model that pushes riders to work faster and for longer hours without receiving adequate pay or social protections.

“This ruling is a major win for delivery riders and an indictment of Deliveroo’s business model. Deliveroo’s treatment of riders is a huge liability for the company and any potential investors, particularly at a time when major competitors like JustEat are shifting to a genuine employment model. Riders deserve workplace rights. We will not accept anything less from app-based delivery companies,” says Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF.