17th July 2015

Corporate Watch, an independent research group, last week revealed that City Sprint, the controversial courier company that has recently come under fire from the IWGB for exploitative wages, has been taking advantage of a legal loophole to spirit profits to overseas owners, tax free.

City Sprint, whose clients include Goldman Sachs, Google and the Guardian, was taken over by the Dunedin Buyout Fund, an overseas based investment fund, in 2010. Instead of investing money in shares of the company, the investment fund made the majority of its investment in the form of a £32.9m loan. By investing through an offshore stock exchange, City Sprint’s majority owners avoid tax, both on the interest from their investment and by deducting the interest from the organisations total profits. While the HMRC is beginning to clamp down on these practices in other corporations, such as Pret a Manger and Maplin, City Sprint have been allowed to continue unimpeded.

This news follows the recent controversy surrounding employment conditions at the company. Over the last month, the organisation has been the target of pushbike courier’s protests, organised by the IWGB, for a fair, living wage. While the company’s profits have risen unprecedentedly since 2010, with CEO Patrick Gallagher earning up to £231,657 a year, the courier’s wages have stagnated for years, earning barely the minimum wage and far below the necessary London Living Wage of £9.15ph. The IWGB Couriers’ London Living Wage campaign has already garnered widespread coverage, from BBC, Vice and LRB blog among others, as well as high profile supporters such as Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party.

Jon Katona, Secretary of the IWGB Couriers and Logistics branch, speaking after City Sprint’s recent refusal to provide its workers with the London living wage, stated: “This recent revelation of the full extent of City Sprint’s exploitative profiteering adds insult to injury. They are shovelling millions offshore in dodgy tax avoidance, while ignoring workers’ demands for decent pay. Clients and customers of City Sprint have a social responsibility to demand change.”

Read the full expose by Corporate Watch:

Contact Corporate Watch:; 02074260005

Corporate Watch Twitter: @CorpWatchUK

For more on the courier’s campaign:

Contact the Couriers and Logistics Branch:; 02072428044

Twitter: @IWGB_CLB