GMB launches legal action against Hermes
The union GMB has launched a legal case against the delivery company Hermes on behalf of eight lead claimant Hermes couriers who alleged they are being denied their “workers’ rights”. Proceedings have now been lodged with the Employment Tribunal in London by solicitors Leigh Day.
This is the latest in a series of legal actions that the GMB has undertaken on behalf of couriers who are classified as “self-employed” rather than employees – which affects their entitlement to benefits such as holiday pay and sick pay.
In October, the GMB won a case against Uber, and in recent weeks it has also launched actions against the DX Group and UK Express.
Commenting on the action against Hermes, Michael Newman, of Leigh Day, said: “We believe that Hermes are deliberately avoiding giving their couriers the rights to which they are entitled.
“They do so by labelling the couriers who work for them as self-employed, when the reality is different.
“We have started employment tribunal proceedings in order to challenge this, so that these couriers can enforce their rights as workers.”
As Post&Parcel reported yesterday, the House of Commons Works and Pensions Committee has been holding an inquiry into the workings of the “gig economy” and it has now published its report in which it was scathing of the “self-employment” model.
In a statement issued on Monday (1 May), Frank Field, Chair of the Works and Pensions Committee, said: “This inquiry has convinced me of the need to offer ‘worker’ status to the drivers who work with those companies as the default option. This status would be a much fairer reflection of the work they undertake which seems to fall between what most of us would think of as ‘self-employed’ or ’employed’.”