Independent Workers Union of Great Britain

IWGB wins second major test case for couriers in the so called “gig-economy”


The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has won its second major legal victory against companies that bogusly classify their workers as independent contractors.

The London Central Employment Tribunal ruled yesterday that Excel was acting unlawfully by classifying bicycle courier Andrew Boxer as an independent contractor and denying him his holiday pay. The company was ordered to pay one weeks unpaid holiday pay.

Workers, as opposed to independent contractors are entitled to holiday pay, guaranteed minimum wage and protection against discrimination.

The judge said that although Boxer provided his own “tools of the trade” he was not providing his services on his own account as a business undertaking and he was not entering into contracts for his business with clients. This conclusion was reached because, among other things:

The ruling quotes Andrew Boxer, who when asked by the judge if he ever queried any of the clauses in his contract said: “I had no choice, it would not have made any difference, they would have laughed at me if I had challenged a particular clause.”

Reacting to the decision, IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “This judgement is yet further evidence of what we have known to be true all along: courier companies are unlawfully depriving their workers of rights. As the tribunal dominoes continue to fall we would recommend that courier companies which are not yet subject to litigation by the IWGB urgently get their act together.

The IWGB simultaneously brought test cases against four courier companies – CitySprint, Excel, Addison Lee and Ecourier –  on 22 March, 2016.

A hearing before the Central Arbitration Comittee to determine the employment status of Deliveroo riders has been set for 24 and 25 May and the union has also brought a test case against NHS pathology services provider The Doctor’s Laboratory.

The IWGB secured its first victory on 6 January when a judge ruled that CitySprint should have classified courier Maggie Dewhurst as a worker and ordered the company to pay two days unpaid holiday pay.

The hearings for the Ecourier and Addison Lee cases are expected in May and July, respectively.

For more information:
Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB General Secretary
02034907530 / 02035383720