Labour Research July 2018

Law Matters

Battle goes on against bogus self-employment

Unions continue legal action against bogus self-employment, with the GMB general union recently announcing its pursuit of claims on behalf of courier members who work for Amazon delivery companies Prospect Commercials Ltd, Box Group Ltd and Lloyd Link Logistics Ltd. 

The union argues the couriers are employees, not self-employed as the companies allege. 

Two couriers are also pursuing whistleblowing claims on the basis that they were dismissed for raising concerns about safety and working practices — for example, drivers driving unsafely to meet targets and being underpaid.

Meanwhile, the Unite general union’s long-running legal battle against abuse of workers through the agency/umbrella company model of employment (see Labour Research, April 2018, page 19) has met with success.

The action has resulted in member Russ Blakely finally receiving a compensation settlement of several thousand pounds in relation to deductions made from his pay and holiday pay.

Supported by Unite, Blakely won an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling at the beginning of this year, confirming that he had the employment status of a “worker”, and was not self-employed as alleged by the On-Site recruitment agency.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said the principles established at the EAT “will be vital in fighting the scourge of umbrella and payroll companies”.