Delivery firm Hermes has struck an agreement with the GMB union to offer drivers guaranteed minimum wages and holiday pay in what has been described as a “ground-breaking” gig economy deal.
It means that its 15,000 self-employed workers can choose to become “self-employed plus” offering individually negotiated pay rates of at least £8.55 an hour.
The deal comes after an employment tribunal last year found that a group of Hermes couriers, backed by the GMB, were workers and entitled to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
The union said the new collective bargaining agreement with Hermes was the first of its kind.
Couriers will be able to opt in to the new contracts or choose to remain self-employed allowing them to earn “premium rates”, the joint announcement of the deal said.
Hermes UK chief executive Martijn de Lange said the new option allowed workers to retain flexibility while offering “the certainty of guaranteed levels of earning, the security of holiday pay and a strong voice”.
He added: “We’re proud to be leading the way with this pioneering development which we hope will encourage other companies to reflect on the employment models they use.”
GMB general secretary Tim Roache said Hermes was “leading the way”.
He added: “They’re showing that the gig economy doesn’t have to be an exploitative economy and we look forward to working with them through this ground-breaking agreement.”
MP Frank Field, who chairs the work and pensions select committee, said the deal should “form the cornerstone of a new contract for workers across the gig economy”.
It comes after rival delivery firm DPD last year said it would offer holiday and sick pay to thousands of drivers after it was criticised following the death of a worker who was fined for attending a medical appointment.
(c) Sky News 2019: Hermes couriers win minimum wage and holiday pay in gig economy first