Riders working for meal delivery service Deliveroo are employees, not self-employed, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled on Friday, in a legal decision which will have an impact across the platform economy.
The verdict, the culmination of years of legal proceedings, was brought by the FNV trade union and upholds that of the lower courts.
Deliveroo, which pulled out of the Netherlands last year, had argued the riders were independent contractors because they could pick their own hours and refuse deliveries if they did not want to do them.
However, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling which said that the delivery workers should be considered to be on the payroll because there was a relationship based on authority and Deliveroo managed their actions via the login system.
Even though Deliveroo has left the country, the ruling will have implications for other similar cases – such as those involving taxi service Uber and temp agency Temper – which are currently before the courts.
‘The employees are indeed managed and have virtually no say over pay rates and working conditions,’ said FNV deputy president Zakaria Boufangacha. ‘As a result, they have to pay and arrange their own insurance, days off and pensions. And they don’t do it, because the pay is far too low.’
In addition, ‘society is also losing money, because the companies now do not pay premiums for employee and national insurance and do not contribute to pension funds,’ he said.
Boufangacha called on the government to take action immediately. ‘We need robust enforcement by the government, otherwise these kinds of companies will ignore court rulings,’ he said.
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