Using football analogy we are at half time in the 4 cases that see individual workers taking on their employers to secure basic employment rights, such as sick pay, holiday pay and the minimum wage. The taxi hailing firm Uber lost its battle last year, where the tribunal judges lambasted the way the company had tried to use made up terminology and double dutch in their workers contracts. Uber tried to say that its drivers were independent businesses, so are not intitled to those basic rights. It was a humiliating defeat for Uber but a great victory for the little man/woman.
Now in Dewhurst v CitySprint UK Ltd. The same tribunal has found that a CitySprint bicycle courier should be classed as a worker, rather than self employed and is intitlled to basic workers rights. Maggie Dewhurst has worked for CitySprint for the past two years, during which time she has been classed as an independent contractor, despite her role being more like that of a worker.
She told the tribunal: “We spend all day being told what to do, when to do it and how to do it. We’re under their control.”
The Judge said that CitySprint’s contractual arrangements were “contorted”, “indecipherable” and “window dressing”.
She added: “It is CitySprint which has the power to regulate the amount of work available, and it keeps its couriers busy by limiting the size of the fleet.
“This gets to the heart of the inequality of bargaining power present in this relationship, and shows that this is not a commercial venture between two corporate entities, as claimed by CitySprint.” This second victory could have far-reaching implications for so-called “gig economy” Dewhurst said she was “delighted”