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Courier Rider Wins Employment Rights Challenge

A cycle courier for firm CitySprint UK Ltd who took the company to an employment tribunal over her employment rights has won her case.

According to the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which supported the claim, the claim was on the face of it about two days unpaid holiday, however the underlying argument was about whether couriers should be classified as “independent contractors”, or “workers”.

The IWGB explains that the former means that each courier is actually an entrepreneur, running a small, independent business and answering only to themselves. The latter, worker status, means that individuals are by trade and practice integrated into the business undertaking of another to such a substantial degree to deserve basic working rights from their employer, including paid holiday leave. In this case the question boiled down to whether the claimant worked for CitySprint or for herself.

The judge ruled that the claimant was entitled to holiday pay. In giving her judgment, the employment tribunal judge described CitySprint’s business model as “contorted, “indecipherable” and “window-dressing”.

“The CitySprint ruling proves that we have been saying all along is true: these gig economy employers have been unlawfully depriving workers of their rights,” commented Jason Moyer-Lee, the General Secretary of the IWGB. “CitySprint’s response that the government needs to clarify the law is laughable. The law is clear and CitySprint have been on the wrong side of it.”

“We will now be writing to the other three courier companies against whom we have pending claims and asking them to concede defeat on this matter,” he added.

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