HERMES, the parcel delivery firm, has struck an agreement with the GMB union to offer couriers paid holiday and guaranteed wage rates under its new “self-employed plus” status.
In what the GMB called a “ground-breaking” deal for the gig economy, Hermes workers can opt-in to receive up to 28 days of paid leave.
They can also choose pay rates of “at least” £8.50 a hour over the year.
In exchange, couriers will have to follow routes specified by Hermes.
At present, Hermes’s 15,000 couriers can deliver parcels in whichever order they want.
The company said that if it is guaranteeing hourly rates of pay, it needs ensure that couriers are taking the most efficient route.
The GMB said that the collective bargaining agreement is on an opt-in basis and “will not affect those couriers who wish to retain their current form of self-employed status and earn premium rates”.
Martijn de Lange, chief executive of Hermes UK, said: “We have listened to our couriers and are wholeheartedly committed to offering innovative ways of working to meet peoples’ differing needs.”
The so-called gig economy means that people are paid for the “gigs” they do such as delivering a parcel or a car journey.
However, some workers are pushing companies to offer better conditions such as paid leave and the minimum wage.
In December, Uber, the ride-sharing service, lost an appeal against a ruling in 2016 which said drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were entitled to benefits.
Uber said it would appeal to the Supreme Court.
Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB, said: “Full credit to Hermes. 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.
“Other employers should take notice, this is how it’s done.”
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