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Tribunal rules Hermes couriers are ‘workers’ not self-employed

The couriers should be entitled to the national minimum wage and holiday pay, the tribunal ruled. Picture: Getty Images

The couriers should be entitled to the national minimum wage and holiday pay, the tribunal ruled. Picture: Getty Images

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A “landmark” tribunal has ruled that a group of 65 Hermes couriers are workers, not self-employed.

The tribunal in Leeds found the couriers were entitled to employment rights and to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

The GMB union said it was the latest legal triumph against “bogus” self-employment in the so-called gig economy.

It is likely to have an impact on the wider network of 14,500 Hermes couriers who are currently under the same contracts, the GMB said.

General secretary Tim Roache 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.”

He added: “Not only will this judgment 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.”

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.

“Nevertheless we have always been fully prepared for any outcome of this decision and its impact on 15 couriers and former couriers.

“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.”

Frank Field, chairman of the work and pensions select committee, said the ruling “ranks the most substantial judicial interventions ever to support vulnerable workers” in the UK.

It follows the case of a heating engineer at London firm Pimlico Plumbers, who won his battle to be named a worker in a Supreme Court case earlier this month.

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