Despite several successful tribunal decisions challenging self-employment status, the legal position has not changed.
Tribunal decisions are not binding and each case is determined on its own facts. Uber has appealed the decision against it and, the courier companies will probably follow. The appeal process can be prolonged for many years by appealing to higher courts, each time adding more costs to the individuals or their union backers.
What will make a difference is the enquiry into the future world of work by the Parliamentary Committee on business strategy. This will focus on the status and rights of agency workers, the self-employed and those working in the ‘gig’ economy. If there is a change in the law confirming worker status then this will have financial repercussions for companies in the ‘gig’ economy who will then be required to pay couriers/drivers the national living/minimum wage and holiday pay. Price increases for customers will, doubtless, follow.
A cycle courier working for the delivery firm CitySprint has won the right to paid holidays and minimum pay in a key ruling on the gig economy.
The central London employment tribunal ruled that CitySprint had unlawfully failed to award holiday pay to Mags Dewhurst and had wrongly classed her as a self-employed freelancer. CitySprint, which has 3,500 self-employed couriers in the UK, could now face further claims.