Following an Employment Tribunal’s decision that a CitySprint courier was a worker and entitled to receive paid holiday, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has filed a £200,000 holiday pay claim against CitySprint on behalf of 20 CitySprint couriers.
According to IWGB, the couriers have been wrongly identified as self-employed contractors as they were all engaged on similar terms to the courier in the Employment Tribunal case. IWGB is therefore arguing that the couriers are entitled to receive equivalent rights, including backdated holiday pay as well as minimum wage. This is despite CitySprint’s continuing argument that their couriers are independent contractors. Citysprint introduced a new contract to its couriers earlier this year so as to avoid any ongoing arguments that their couriers are workers.
This case continues to highlight the importance of correctly identifying the employment status of individuals at the outset of an arrangement. Even if a contract states that an individual is a independent contractor, this will not be the case if the day to day relationship is that which one would typically expect to see in an employer/employee situation. Nor will it prevent a party from bringing a legal action against a Company.
The gig economy and the employment status of those who work within it is a hotbed of litigation at present and so if a Company is in any doubt about the employment status of its individuals, it would be sensible to take legal advice now.