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Imagine working a full time job for one company without the usual benefits an employee should have. No holiday pay, no sick pay, no entitlement to the National Minimum Wage and no laws to prevent you being sacked without notice.

For years couriers working at The Doctor’s Laboratory, a subsidiary of Australian multinational Sonic Healthcare, which has over £3bn in annual turnover, have been forced to work under self-employed contracts that leave their workers in a vulnerable position day-by-day.

For example, were a cycle courier working for TDL to have an accident while at work, he or she would have to find their own way to pay the rent. Despite the fact that many couriers at TDL work full time, those who are self-employed do not and would not receive any statutory sick pay.

Equally, were a motorbike courier’s moped to break down, that courier might too lose the best part of a day’s wage and have to stump up the costs of repairs with zero support from TDL. Have you ever heard of an office employee being charged for a computer repair?

In light of this patent unfairness, five couriers have stood up together to bring about change at The Doctor’s Laboratory. Flanked by the IWGB Courier’s and Logistics Branch, these men will all be challenging their independent contractor contracts and claiming for employment status which will in due course yield far better working conditions at TDL.

And an easy case it should be to be won. The couriers’ status as employees is easily demonstrated by the fact that, among other things:

  • They are required to work regular shifts which are dictated by TDL and failure to follow TDL’s absence procedure can result in dismissal;
  • They have to request time off (e.g holidays) and are often refused the request;
  • They are not allowed to reject the deliveries they are told to do;
  • Couriers are not allowed to take outside employment while working for TDL.

The five couriers, Alex, Anderson, Andrew, Tomasz and Ronnie are fortunate to be represented pro bono by Ben Collins QC of Old Square Chambers, a leading employment law barrister.

But, as a small volunteer run union with little in the way of resources, we at IWGB need your assistance in funding these crucial proceedings.

What we need to pay:

  • It will set us back £500 alone to submit these claims.
  • A further £1800 will be spent on the hearings.
  • We will require some extra cover to subsidise other union costs, plus some savings would be beneficial in the case of appeals.

Please help us overcome this barrier to justice and donate what you can! The outcome of the case could have an impact on the over 80 couriers working for TDL.

The IWGB will always strive to pave the way for bright futures for couriers alike. Let this be a monumental milestone of an employment tribunal to set the precedent for others in the same boat and empower them to confront their employers alike!

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