BOSSES of nationwide courier company Hermes are being taken to court for using false “self-employment” to exploit workers and deny them their rights.
General union GMB announced yesterday that it has launched legal action on behalf of eight employees as test cases.
Germany-based Hermes employs almost 10,000 couriers in Britain. They deliver 300 million parcels a year. Its customers include Next, Asos, Tesco, John Lewis, Debenhams, Arcadia Group and Asda.
By treating its staff as “self-employed” the company denies its workers basic rights such as holiday pay, sick pay and the national minimum wage.
GMB legal director Maria Ludkin 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.”
Michael Newman, of the GMB’s law firm 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.