Employment tribunal for CitySprint over freelance workers rights

The company faces an employment tribunal over demands to treat freelance couriers as workers


The UK’s leading delivery company CitySprint, are the latest British firm to be taken to an employment tribunal over demands that freelance couriers should be treated the same as workers.

A number of other disputes relating to the growing ‘gig economy’ in the UK have come to light recently, including the UK’s largest sports retailer Sports Direct and the taxi-hailing company Uber, whose drivers won their case.

Employment tribunal for CitySprint over freelance workers rights

CitySprint courier vehicle on Kingsley Close © Copyright Burgess Von Thunen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The case against CitySprint has been brought by Mags Dewhurst, who has made deliveries for the courier company for over two years. At the tribunal, her argument will be that she should be granted worker status at the firm along with workers rights, including the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

This case against CitySprint is the first out of four concerning courier firms, all of which will be held in front of the same judge. Cases against Addison Lee, eCourier and Excel are due to be heard in 2017.

Head of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Mr Jason Moyer-Lee, who’s backing the riders, says that the cyclists only worked for one firm and were duty-bound to accept the work given to them during the day.

According to Mr Moyer-Lee, independent contractors could send other people to carry out their work but Mags Dewhurst and the other CitySprint riders could not do this.

Mr Moyer-Lee said: “Even though the courier firms say Mags can send a substitute, she can’t really, as there are restrictions that prevent that.”

The whole purpose of the cases, says Moyer-Lee, is to test the workers status within these companies.

CitySprint has 3,500 self-employed couriers. If the employment tribunal finds for the riders, the company may face further claims.

Mags Dewhurst says she is taking action against CitySprint over personal experiences regarding earnings and because she has a number of courier friends who earn less than the national minimum wage. She also said that financial difficulties arise when she wishes to go on holiday.

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