A group of couriers Hermes has won its fight to be treated as employees and not independent contractors in what has been described as one of the most significant victories against the exploitation of the gig economy workers.
An employment Tribunal in Leeds ruled that the couriers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay, and to return unlawful deductions from their wages, because they were incorrectly classified as self-employed.
The GMB, which helped file the lawsuit, said the decision may affect 14,500 Hermes couriers who are engaged under the same contract as 65 couriers who took the case to the Tribunal.
Frank field, labour Chairman of the work and pensions Committee, said that the decision to rank “among the most significant judicial interventions or to support vulnerable groups of workers in this country.”
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The General Secretary of the GMB, Tim roach, described it as “another nail in the coffin exploitative, false self-employment model, which is more common in the UK.”
He said: “the bosses can’t just pick and choose which laws to comply with. Workers ‘ rights were hard won, GMB is not going to sit idly by and allow them to be blurred or removed the last of the loopholes employers have come up with to earn a few extra pounds.”
Roach called upon Hermes to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Union, but the delivery company announced its intention to appeal the decision.
The representative of Hermes said: “we will carefully study the judgment, but we are going to appeal, given that this is contrary to previous solutions, our understanding of the witnesses evidenced by the fact that we believe that the law will be.
“Nevertheless, we were always fully prepared for any outcome of this decision and its impact on 15 of the couriers [and] former couriers [who took the case].”
The resolution mirrors the sentences in respect of cases against uber, Addison Lee, city Sprint and eCourier Excel, where the judge ruled that the workers must be given legal classification as “workers”, thereby receiving the minimum wage and holiday pay.
UMG announced a lawsuit against three companies of delivery on Amazon on the same principles.
The Union said there would be another hearing in the Tribunal for the determination of holiday pay, minimum wage and no unlawful deductions to which couriers Hermes have the right.
Michael Newman, from solicitors Leigh, said: “this decision confirms that the courier company Hermes as a customer-fronting ‘face of Hermes, play a major role in the success of the company. This confirms that they work for Hermes as part of the business of Hermes”.
Field, who co-authored a report 2016, a Wild West workplace, self-employment in Britain “the gig Economy”, stated that “mega drop those companies still use the old means of exploitation of vulnerable groups of workers”.
In February, Theresa may announced a number of new labour policy which says it will help defend the rights of workers, in response to the Downing Street-commissioned review, which called on the government to improve the quality of work for people on low wages.
However, to the frustration of workers, trade unions and labor, the government only promised to consult on the possible changes in the use of self-employment, which may include changes of the law.