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Gig economy ruling has Deliveroo riders without rights and buying their own kit

A tribunal said couriers were ‘self-employed’ and not eligible for certain protections. But they counter that the firm is ducking its liabilities

When 21-year-old Nathaniel Shaughnessy needed to find flexible paid work, he took a courier job with fast-food delivery firm Deliveroo, and for two years biked take-away meals from restaurants to customers. In February, the Deliveroo-branded food box that clipped to the back of his bike snapped off and he was given a second-hand backpack with a broken zip as a replacement. He was told that he would have to wait until September for a new one, but when the time came to collect it, he learned that the rules had changed and workers are expected to fund replacements themselves. Under the new policy recruits are expected to pay for everything at the outset. A backpack and insulating bag cost £60.

“If anyone’s equipment breaks after six months they are expected to work the equivalent of the next 13 deliveries for nothing, just for the privilege of having the kit to do the job,” says Shaughnessy. “I can only imagine what this must be like for those for whom Deliveroo is their primary source of income.”

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