• Courier was discriminated against because he was a part time worker.

  • Stuart operates an extreme performance management system, which is a radical departure from those used by companies such as Uber.

  • Samad will be represented at the tribunal by leading barrister Schona Jolly QC.

1st August: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has today filed an employment status and discrimination claim against courier company Stuart, which was recently acquired by a subsidiary of French state-owned postal service company La Poste.

The IWGB argues that Stuart discriminated against courier Mohammed Samad on the basis that he was a part time worker. Furthermore, the union argues that contrary to Stuart’s claim that it has no employment relationship with its couriers, it employed Samad as a worker, and consequently he would have had the right to holiday pay and a written statement of particulars.

Besides the right to a guaranteed minimum wage and holiday pay, self-employed workers are protected against discrimination, including the right to not be treated less favourably than full time workers if they work part time.

Stuart subjects its couriers to an unprecedented high degree of performance management. Couriers are evaluated through what is called a Client Performance Score (CPS), which is sent to them on a weekly basis and is based on different subscores, including the total number of jobs completed and how fast these jobs are done.

But in what is a radical departure from the ratings used by companies such as Uber, which rates workers based on absolute values, the CPS used by Stuart rates workers mainly in relation to the performance of their peers.

In Samad’s case, his CPS suffered – and he was consequently fired – in part, because he did fewer deliveries than his peers, due to the fact that he had less time available to do jobs.

Stuart claims that it has no employment relationship with its couriers and that it simply provides an app that connects couriers to companies that need to make deliveries and vice versa.

This case shows the utter hypocrisy of so-called gig economy companies,” says IWGB Courier and Logistics branch Chair Meg Brown. “They claim that their jobs are convenient for part timer workers that want to fit their work around other commitments, but it is clear that in reality it is only convenient for employers who are finding new and innovative excuses to fire people.”

Stuart was acquired by La Poste’s logistics subsidiary GeoPost in March and had been a 22% shareholder for several years.

Samad will be represented at the tribunal by leading discrimination, human rights and employment barrister Schona Jolly QC.

The IWGB has won a number of test cases before employment tribunals, including Dewhurst v CitySprint and Boxer v Excel. Other companies including The Doctors Laboratory and eCourier, voluntarily admitted that they were unlawfully classifying their workers as independent contractors, following legal action brought by the IWGB.

The IWGB is awaiting decisions on other landmark cases against Deliveroo and Addison Lee.

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