The food delivery company Deliveroo is suing two of its couriers after they brought a court case against the company over work contracts. A hearing by the Administrative Commission for the Regulation of Work Relationships ruled in March last year that a courier should be a salaried position. However, this ruling was not binding, and so Deliveroo is contesting the case with its couriers in the Brussels Labour Tribunal.
Despite this legal action against the couriers having seemingly set a precedent for workers rights in the company, the labour tribunal is also currently examing Deliveroo and its employment practices.
What next for Deliveroo?
Belgian MP for Ecolo, Gilles Vanden Burre, has been following the case and explains the situation. ‘The verdict given in March last year wasn’t binding. However, the company is currently being examined by the labour tribunal on this case of work contracts and any final ruling made there would be binding. We are hoping that the tribunal will see that these workers qualify and deserve contracts for their work‘
This case highlights an ongoing battle between the company and its workers in Belgium over work contracts. After many worker campaigns and demonstrations, Deliveroo agreed In Janurary to the proposition of “smart contracts” for its workers which would give rights for sick leave, insurance against injury etc. However, they pulled the deal days before.
Businesses as usual?
‘Deliveroo has stated in the past that they will abide by the rules in Belgium.‘ Gilles says, ‘We hope and really believe that a verdict here in favour of the workers will not scare off the company, as we want to continue working with companies like this in our economy, but not at the expense of the workers or our laws.‘
To continue operating in Belgium, Deliveroo would have to abide by the final verdict given at this tribunal. This is not the first time Deliveroo has had problems in a country, but a definitive ruling in Belgium on contracts could be echoed as a model around Europe as they begin to regulate these new digital business models.