UK ruling: Couriers working for co that delivers blood supplies to NHS win right to collective bargaining

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1 March 2018

Gig economy ruling: Couriers carrying blood for NHS win right to collective bargaining

Author: Ben Chapman, The Independent

A union for couriers delivering vital blood supplies to NHS hospitals has won the right to recognition from an employer in a victory for gig economy workers.

It is the culmination of a lengthy battle for the International Workers’ Union of Great Britain and couriers at The Doctors Laboratory. 

TDL is a private firm that provides outsourced delivery services for the NHS...

The employer had refused to recognise the union but the Central Arbitration Committee declared that the IWGB should be recognised. The IWGB can now bargain on behalf of the couriers, meaning it can now negotiate wages and working conditions...

Last month, after further legal action, TDL conceded in an out-of-court settlement that two of its couriers were in fact employees, meaning that they are entitled to full employment rights including sick pay. All of the couriers will now be able to collectively bargain thanks to the latest CAC decision.

Unlike workers and employees, independent contractors do not have the right to form collective bargaining units, to the minimum wage or to holiday pay. [also refers to CitySprint, Hermes and DPD]

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7 February 2018

Couriers carrying blood for NHS win full employment rights

Author: Sarah Butler, The Guardian (UK)

Couriers carrying emergency blood supplies for the NHS have won full employment rights in a first for the gig economy.

The Doctors Laboratory (TDL), a company that provides pathology services, had argued that all its cyclists, motorcyclists and van drivers were self-employed contractors with no employment rights beyond basic health and safety and anti-discrimination rules...

Last year, TDL conceded the couriers should be classed as workers, a formal employment classification with limited rights including holiday pay and the national minimum wage. The gig economy union the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) is now pursuing about £1m in holiday back-pay for 50 TDL workers.

But in an out-of-court settlement the company has now acknowledged that some of those couriers are employees, the most protected status, which comes with full rights including sick leave, maternity pay and the ability to challenge unfair dismissal...

A spokesperson for TDL said: “We are pleased to have achieved a satisfactory settlement with the individuals concerned and to date have received no further claims.” [also refers to Deliveroo, Uber, Hermes and DPD]

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