Workers’ rights union GMB has announced it has launched legal proceedings against delivery giant Hermes.
The case, which follows on from legal action against minicab hire service Uber last year, centres on how the company is treating its workers.
GMB’s case against Hermes has been lodged with the Employment Tribunal by solicitors Leigh Day.
At present, Hermes describes many of its workers as ‘self-employed couriers’, which GMB said avoids the delivery company from having to pay them the national minimum living wage and provide other “basic rights” such as holiday and sick pay.
Speaking to What Van? earlier this year, a driver for Hermes said they earned between 49p and 79p per delivery depending on the size of the parcel.
“Morale isn’t great, we work hard with little support, and getting time off is stressful,” they added.
Last year, GMB won its case against Uber, forcing the taxi app to pay its drivers at least the national minimum living wage as well as holiday and sick pay, although Uber is currently contesting the ruling.
An investigation by the Work and Pensions Committee, which concluded earlier this week said the Government needs to close loopholes allowing this “bogus” practice to continue, while the chair of the committee, Frank Field previously described workers’ contracts as “gibberish and almost unintelligible”.
“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,” said Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director. “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.”