UK trade union GMB has recorded a potential landmark victory over gig economy contracts after an employment tribunal ruled that 65 Hermes couriers were entitled to basic workers’ rights.
The win is the latest GMB win against self-employment style contracts following rulings against taxi firms Uber and Addison Lee.
In an important ruling, which could potentially affect 14,500 Hermes couriers employed under the same contract, the Leeds Employment Tribunal found that the 65 couriers were not independent contractors but workers who were entitled to basic workers’ rights, including the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.
There will now be a further tribunal to calculate the holiday pay, National Minimum Wage and any unlawful deductions due to the couriers.
Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said, “This is yet another ruling that shows the gig economy for what it is – old-fashioned exploitation under a shiny new facade. Bosses can’t just pick and choose which laws to obey.
“Not only will this judgement directly affect more than 14,000 Hermes couriers across the country, it’s another nail in the coffin of the exploitative bogus self-employment model which is increasingly rife across the UK. We urge Hermes to sit down with us and have a meaningful discussion.”
Frank Field MP, chair of Work and Pensions Select Committee, said, “It ranks among the most substantial judicial interventions ever to support vulnerable workers in this country.
“The decision is a mega knockback to those companies still using old means of exploiting vulnerable workers.”
In a similar vein, GMB has also announced legal action against three Amazon delivery companies on the charge of bogus self-employment.