The latest gig economy case to be tested in court starts today (April 30), with courier firm Hermes facing action from GMB Union members.
The legal action, which follows GMB’s landmark success against Uber, is on behalf of eight Hermes couriers who believe they are being denied basic workers’ rights by being forced to declare themselves as self-employed.
If the GMB members’ case is successful, the company could be forced to change the way it employs its drivers.
The claimants are currently described as ‘lifestyle couriers’, where Hermes treat them as self-employed, which means drivers aren’t entitled to holiday pay to the national living wage.
This is the latest in a string of cases brought by GMB on behalf of members to tackle bogus self-employment and gig economy exploitation.
In October 2016, GMB won a ground-breaking case against Uber where a similar employment tribunal ruled that Uber drivers should have worker status and the rights that go with it. That landmark case could have major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales, although Uber is currently appealing the decision.
Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said, “GMB’s courier members do a tough job – working long hours with unrealistic targets. They make a fortune for companies like Hermes, the least they should be able to expect in return is the minimum wage and their hard-fought rights at work.
“Companies like Hermes and Uber hide behind terms like ‘flexibility’ to wriggle out of treating the people who make them their money with the respect they deserve. Guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions are not privileges companies can dish out when they fancy. They are the legal right of all UK workers, and that’s what we’re asking the courts to rule on.”