Hermes couriers win rights in ‘gig economy deal’

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Hermes’ self-employed couriers have won new rights to holiday pay and other benefits under a deal struck by the company and the GMB union.

Making the announcement on 4 February, GMB said the collective bargaining agreement was the first of its type and urged other firms to follow suit.

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “Hermes is leading the way, looking after the people who work for you on the ground day in, day out, is not only good for business but the right thing to do.

“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.”

The agreement will allow Hermes couriers the option to become ‘self-employed plus’, which provides a number of benefits such as holiday pay (pro-rata up to 28 days).

Terms have also secured individually negotiated pay rates that allow couriers to earn at least £8.55 per hour over the year and couriers will also be able to apply for full GMB representation.

It is an ‘opt-in’ model and GMB says it will not affect those couriers who wish to retain their current form of self-employed status and earn premium rates.

Frank Field MP, who submitted evidence to the GMB union of alleged exploitation at Hermes in 2017, said: “Justice has finally been delivered for those couriers whose chronically low pay and appalling exploitation at the hands of Hermes I reported on.”

He said that greater financial security offered by minimum wages and holiday pay alongside flexibility, should be now “the cornerstone” of a new contract for workers across the gig economy.

The case follows news that the union fighting for rights for Deliveroo staff lost their case at the High Court. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) had been calling for worker rights as well as the ability to be represented by trade unions to negotiate pay and terms and conditions. The High Court rejected the plea in December 2018.


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