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CITYSPRINT couriers’ status as workers with rights was confirmed once and for all today after the company was dragged back to an employment tribunal for the third time.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) claimed victory in its battle to gain basic employment rights for five gig-economy workers at the company.
CitySprint had changed workers’ contracts rather than comply with a previous ruling that they are entitled to holiday pay and the legal minimum wage.
The company could now be forced to give them thousands of pounds in lieu of the holidays they were denied once its financial liability is established at a final hearing in October.
Claimant Phil Weber said: “This victory over CitySprint shows what strength there is in being part of an active front-line union like the IWGB. I hope it gives others courage.
“So many ‘gig economy’ courier companies wrongly classify their workforce as self-employed independent contractors.
“We all know they’re playing the system to deny basic rights like holiday pay and pension contributions, but most workers are afraid to stand up for themselves because, as it is, there’s not enough work to go around and so little job security. We’re left fighting for scraps.
“But when we are united and fight together, things can turn out very differently.”
The IWGB said it was appalled that it had had to take the company to an employment tribunal three times because the company “was so determined” to deny workers basic protections.
But yesterday’s victory shows that even when terms of contracts are manipulated, union organising can still win the fight for workers’ rights, the IWGB added.
General secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee said: “CitySprint and other ‘gig economy’ companies are making a mockery of the British legal system.
“If the law were enforced and sanctions were real, CitySprint wouldn’t have dreamed of simply acting like it hadn’t already lost a tribunal claim over its couriers’ workers’ rights.
“In the absence of the state enforcing the law, the IWGB will continue to hold these cowboy companies to account.”
A separate £43,668.86 holiday pay claim is being made against Royal Mail-owned eCourier on behalf of three couriers transferred from CitySprint.
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