Deliveroo on trial for 'encouraging' couriers to give up their work contracts

Deliveroo on trial for 'encouraging' couriers to give up their work contracts
Credit: Belga

Food delivery company Deliveroo will be brought before a Brussels labour court next year to respond to accusations that it "encouraged" drivers to work without a contract and become "service providers."

The gig-economy firm will also face other accusations, such as missed payments to the national social security office (ONSS/RSZ) or failing to compensate its couriers, 7sur7 reports.

The trial follows a lengthy criminal investigation, launched in 2017, during which 115 Deliveroo Francophone and Dutch-speaking couriers testified.

Deliveroo reportedly cooperated fully in the investigation, which brought the firm's hiring and labour practices under scrutiny after it jumped on the introduction of the Alexander De Croo gig-economy law in 2017 to reduce the number of couriers under contract.

Following the creation of the law in 2017, the food delivery multinational —whose revenue that year was estimated at £277.1 pounds— reportedly "encouraged" its couriers to scrap their work contracts with freelance managing firm SMART and become "contract providers" for Deliveroo instead.

The firm's moved sparked outrage among couriers, with the case now brought before the labour court in Brussels, with the prosecutor expected to offer couriers to become parties in the procedure.

The trial is set to kick off on 20 January 2020, and could see Deliveroo ordered to pay out hefty indemnities to the ONSS.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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