Unionising Deliveroo riders will hurt them and the wider economy

In response to the International Workers Union of Great Britain's attempt to force Deliveroo to accept it as a union for its riders, Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute, said:

“Deliveroo riders do the job because it gives them so much flexibility, and ruling against that would hurt them. Just like Uber drivers and other ‘gig economy’ workers, being able to work when they want allows riders to work around other commitments – essential for students or people with irregular social lives. Deliveroo is hardly a monopolistic employer either – riders can choose between UberEats, Deliveroo or even similar services like Amazon Flex, choosing between whichever is offering the best deal at the time for them. That’s just one freedom that would be limited if riders had to be classified as ‘workers’.
“It’s misleading doublespeak to say that the court will be giving these riders more “rights”. Only 19% of Deliveroo’s riders in Camden supports the union's motion. The whole reason these jobs exist is because they are less tightly constrained by the type of job restrictions and barriers to entry that many full-time workers face. If you want to see what full-throttle “protections” for workers do, go to Italy or France, where unemployment rates are double Britain’s. 
“Our flexible labour market is what’s allowed us to create two million new private sector jobs since 2010, while the rest of Europe has stagnated. It allows firms like Deliveroo to innovate with new employment models and gives workers more choices and more opportunities. Ruling against the gig economy would be bad for Deliveroo riders, bad for innovation, and bad for Britain’s workers as a whole."

For further comment or to arrange an interview please get in touch via sam@adamsmith.org or 02072224995.