NTI COVID-19 FAQ

What's the Difference Between a Bike and a Taxi?

Posted on Jun 25, 2021. by NTI

Before you can fully engage in this edification you need to have a working knowledge of two things:

1   The 'gig economy'. Of course you know what this is; who doesn't have instant access to nonsense words and phrases that are made up by people who should know better to look cool and up-front.

A 'gig economy' is (of course) a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts, or freelance work.

2  The result of the recent distrastrous case for Uber.

In February of this year the House of Lords laid down a landmark judgment which confirmed that Uber drivers are workers, not independent sub-contractors, meaning that Uber are obliged to pay them at least minimum wage, allow them to take paid annual leave and offer them various other annoying protections (from Uber's viewpoint).

The Court of Appeal decided that bike riders for Deliveroo are different, in the same way that bikes and cars are pretty different. An appeal by the IWGB union, which has long challenged the gig economy employer over couriers’ rights, was rejected, backing up an earlier judgment by the central arbitration committee and two in the High Court. Apparently, Deliveroo are not in an employer/employee relationship with their riders, which also distinguishes them from horny old Matt Hancock.

A spokesperson for Deliveroo, called internally a 'Chatteroo' must have been reading the judgment differently from everyone else, as they said: “Our message to riders is clear. We will continue to back your right to work the way you want. Deliveroo’s model offers the genuine flexibility that is only compatible with self-employment, providing riders with the work they tell us they value.” Oh, so this is good news for your riders (not 'employees') then? You could see how we might have taken a contrary view.

One of the key features that stood the two employers/non-employers apart is that Deliveroo’s relationship with its riders is the absence of specific hours, the absence of any requirement to do any work at all and the need for riders to provide their own phone and bike. Whereras, of course, all the cars and phones of drivers with Uber belong to Uber?

The other distinction their Jugeships found is that the service delivered by Deliveroo is not a 'personal service', whereas Uber's is. We in the NTI newsroom are not so sure, but there is no higher court in this fair land than their Lordships' court. So, that will be the last resort, if there is to be an appeal.

« Back to articles