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Mon, 10 August 2020

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GMB takes on courier giant Hermes in fresh 'gig-economy' legal action

GMB

2 min read Member content

Union launches proceedings against company over workers' rights.


GMB, the union for couriers, has launched legal action against Hermes.

The case, which follows GMB’s landmark success against Uber, is on behalf of eight lead claimant Hermes couriers who are allegedly being denied their workers’ rights.

Proceedings have now been lodged with the Employment Tribunal by solicitors Leigh Day.

Meanwhile Hermes’ troubles are proliferating – further to GMB’s extensive meetings with HMRC it is finally taking action and investigating Hermes.

GMB's case against Hermes could force the company, who deliver for a host of household names, to reconsider the way it treats all its drivers.

The claimants are currently described as 'self-employed couriers' by Hermes.

In classifying their couriers as self-employed, Hermes avoid giving them basic rights such as holiday pay and the national living wage.

Earlier this month the Work and Pensions Committee branded self-employment contracts used by Hermes, and other gig economy companies, as “gibberish” and “almost unintelligible”.

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, GMB won a ground-breaking victory against Uber.

The ruling of the court means drivers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage and holiday pay amongst other benefits.

This landmark case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales.

Uber is currently contesting the decision in the employment appeal tribunal.

Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director, said:

“GMB will fight bogus self-employment and exploitative practices whenever and wherever we can.

“Under the false claims of ‘flexibility’ Hermes seems to think it’s acceptable to wriggle out of treating its workers with respect.

“Guaranteed hours, sick pay, pension contributions – these aren’t privileges to be bestowed when companies feel like it, they are the legal right of all UK workers.

“And it’s good to hear that HMRC are finally taking their enforcement responsibilities seriously and are investigating 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.”

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