Hermes to offer gig economy drivers better rights under union deal | Business

The courier company Hermes is to offer drivers guaranteed minimum wages and holiday pay in the first UK deal to provide trade union recognition for gig economy workers.

Under the agreement with the GMB union, Hermes’ 15,000 drivers will continue to be self-employed but can opt into contracts with better rights.

The deal comes after almost 200 Hermes couriers won the right to be recognised as “workers” at an employment tribunal last summer in a case backed by the GMB.

Under employment law, “workers” are guaranteed rights including holiday pay, the legal minimum wage, minimum rest breaks and protection against unlawful discrimination. Similar cases have been brought against Uber, Addison Lee, CitySprint, Excel and eCourier.

Ed Cross, a Hermes driver who has worker status after taking part in the tribunal case, said it would be better if all his fellow drivers had won the same status but he was happy they could now enjoy similar rights without having to go to a tribunal.

“It’s a start but it’s not the end,” he said. “It is the dawning of a new era where drivers and Hermes have to work together in partnership.”

As a result of the deal, Hermes has dropped plans for an appeal against the tribunal ruling and the GMB will not be pursuing further tribunal cases.

Tim Roache, the general secretary of the GMB, said: “As a result of our ground-breaking agreement, couriers will have a real voice in their workplace as well as the right to holiday pay and guaranteed pay, something GMB Union has long been campaigning for on behalf of our members.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

“Full credit to Hermes. They’re showing that the gig economy doesn’t have to be an exploitative economy and we look forward to working with them through this ground-breaking agreement.

“Other employers should take notice; this is how it’s done.”

Martijn de Lange, the chief executive of Hermes in the UK, said: “We’re proud to be leading the way with this pioneering development, which we hope will encourage other companies to reflect on the employment models they use. We have listened to our couriers and are wholeheartedly committed to offering innovative ways of working to meet people’s differing needs.”

Couriers who wish to retain their current form of self-employed status with Hermes do not have to sign the new terms, although the company has indicated that they may receive higher hourly pay anyway. However, they will not receive a guaranteed minimum wage or holiday pay.

Source link