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Deliveroo’s unionisation hearing: The implications for the UK gig economy

Sean Nesbitt, head of the employment, pensions and mobility group at international law firm Taylor Wessing, discusses Deliveroo’s recent hearing on unionisation and its implications for the wider UK gig economy.

Last week Deliveroo’s hearing on unionisation took place. The Independent Workers of Great Britain Union (IWGB) claims recognition before the Victorian-sounding Central Arbitration Committee.

The language of that sentence alone may induce shudders in readers, but this piece proposes that you look beneath the surface for an evidence-based response to claims for worker status.

Surprisingly, from a business perspective there are several factors to suggest that accepting worker status, in the right circumstances, is the most nuanced and sustainable business strategy.

Cost implications

The cost implications of worker status are material, but they are not budget-busting.  Under questioning from the Work and Pensions Select Committee, evidence from Uber and Deliveroo, among others, was that they would have viable businesses if people categorised as self-employed were recognised as workers....