Hi all – here’s today’s round-up of the main news relating to HR and employment law. Click the titles to see the full stories.
Deliveroo riders have been ruled self-employed by labour law body the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC). The test case was brought against the delivery company by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB).
The IWGB said the ruling showed a majority of Deliveroo riders wanted workers’ rights and union recognition. But the CAC found they were self-employed because of their freedom to “substitute” – allowing other riders to take their place on a job.
The case follows a number of claims brought by workers in the “gig” economy demanding rights such as holiday pay, the minimum wage and pensions contributions.
Drivers at Uber won a victory a week ago when the company lost an appeal at the Employment Appeal Tribunal against an earlier decision to grant them workers’ rights.
CitySprint has been accused of “making a mockery” of Britain’s employment rights system after changing couriers’ contracts rather than giving them the minimum wage and holiday pay, despite losing an employment tribunal case on the issue.
The company, which has 3,500 self-employed couriers in the UK, said it had dropped an appeal against a ruling by the central London employment tribunal that it had unlawfully failed to award holiday pay to Mags Dewhurst and wrongly classed her as a self-employed freelancer. But CitySprint said it had changed contracts for all its cycle couriers.
In January, the employment judge Joanna Wade described its contractual arrangements as contorted, indecipherable and window-dressing. The tribunal found Dewhurst should be classed as a “worker” and entitled to paid holiday and the national minimum wage under employment law.
Britain’s trade unions have been warned they face increasing irrelevance without radical reform to attract new members in fast-growing sectors with large numbers of casual employees, such as the hospitality industry.
The warning comes in a report from the leftwing thinktank the Fabian Society and the Community union, with analysis showing that the country’s fastest-growing industries have the lowest levels of membership.
The report serves as a renewed warning for the union movement operating in the private sector after years of membership decline. The bargaining power of workers to demand higher wages and better conditions is coming under threat from technological innovation as well as the growth of the gig economy.