Belgian judge decides today whether bicycle couriers Deliveroo are really self-employed

The Belgian court will rule today in the case brought by the labor prosecutor and 27 bicycle couriers against meal delivery company Deliveroo. The key question in this process is whether an employee working for Deliveroo can be considered a true self-employed person.

In February, the Dutch court ruled on appeal that meal deliverers at Deliveroo are not self-employed and are therefore entitled to an employment contract. In 2019, the court in Amsterdam already reached the same conclusion.

The meal deliverers were employed by Deliveroo until 2018, but the company then stopped. Anyone who still wanted to work for Deliveroo had to become self-employed.

A year ago, the Supreme Court already ruled that a paper agreement is not important, but that it is necessary to look at practice. The Court of Appeal in Amsterdam has also done so and came to the conclusion that the method of wage payment, the authority exercised and other circumstances point more towards an employment contract.

From Belgian Deliveroo case is the result of a two-year investigation by the Labor Board of 115 couriers. 27 of them have acted as witnesses in recent weeks.

The research shows that Deliveroo imposes a number of rules on the self-employed couriers that make the employment relationship more like that of an employer and an employee. Leaning on a 2017 law, the company is sticking to the ‘sharing economy model’ with independent couriers.

Another recent study by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel states that working conditions often leave something to be desired. ‘Various factors such as the long and irregular working hours, the lack of social security and the low wages make home deliverers an enormously vulnerable group.’

Belgian politicians have been concerned for some time about meal deliverers who work with freelancers. MP Anja Vanrobaeys (Vooruit) and her PS colleague Sophie Themont want a uniform framework for all recognized platforms. ‘Everyone has the right to a fair wage and strong social protection towards work. Also within the platform economy,’ they think.

Source: Nieuws – Emerce by

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