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Tribunal deems Hermes couriers as workers and no longer self employed

Written by Rosie Hanley, a year 10 student at Priestlands School on 26 June 2018

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A group of 65 Hermes couriers have succeeded in their battle to become registered workers rather than independent contractors. They took the delivery service to the tribunal as they stated they had been denied their basic workers’ rights.

Minimum wage, holiday pay and the ability to reclaim deductions from their previous wages were granted to the workers by a Leeds employment tribunal as they had been wrongly classed as self-employed.

The “landmark” ruling is expected to affect more than 14,000 other couriers who are under the same contract as the 65 who took this case to tribunal, according to the GMB.

Tim Roache, the GMB’s general secretary, reported this case as “another nail in the coffin of the exploitative, bogus self-employed mode; which is increasingly rife across the UL”. He continued to say “Bosses can’t just pick and choose which laws to obey. Workers’ rights were hard won, GMB isn’t about to sit back and let them be eroded or removed by the latest loophole employers have come up with to make a few extra quid.”

A Hermes spokesman said: “we will carefully review the tribunal’s decision, but we are likely to appeal it given that it goes against previous decisions, our understanding of the witness evidence and what we believe the law to be”.

They also added “Nevertheless we have always been fully prepared for any outcome of this decision and its impact on 15 couriers and (the) former couriers (who took the case)”.

 "In the meantime, it is business as usual and we remain committed to providing couriers with the benefits of flexible working and the ability to earn well in excess of the national living wage."

A further hearing is to be held to decide the minimum wage, holiday pay and any unlawful deductions from previous wages to which the couriers are permitted.

This ruling will hopefully improve ‘gig economy’ in Hermes just like UBER and Pimlico attempted to, as mentioned previously in earlier reports.

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