NHS medical couriers landmark million-pound holiday pay claim to be heard next week

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30 January 2020

  • IWGB will argue that a recent European Court decision removes restrictions on holiday pay claims
  • IWGB representing 45 medical couriers, some with claims stretching back up to 20 years
  • If the claim is successful it could provide a powerful new weapon in the fight against the abuses of so-called “gig economy” employers.

30 Jan: The Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will be facing NHS contractor The Doctors Laboratory (TDL) in a landmark holiday pay claim on 3-5 February.

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee will be representing 45 medical couriers that are claiming over £1 million in unpaid holidays stretching back up to 20 years. The case will be heard at the London Central Employment Tribunal.

He will be arguing that the recent decision on King v Sash Window Workshop by the Court of Justice of the European Union removes previous restrictions on holiday pay claims when workers have been denied their right to paid holidays.

This marks a transformative change for workers in the UK, who as a result of legislation introduced by the coalition government and restrictive interpretations by UK courts could, until now, only claim up to two years of unpaid holiday.

If successful, the case could provide a new powerful weapon in the fight against the abuses of so-called “gig economy” employers and other exploitative bosses that systematically refuse to give their workers paid holidays.

Until recently, TDL had denied its couriers, who deliver emergency blood and pathology samples, basic employment rights, including paid holidays, by wrongfully classifying them as independent contractors. Following the launch of legal action by the IWGB in 2017, the company reclassified all its couriers as workers or employees. However TDL has never compensated the couriers for the years it denied them employment rights.

In 2018, the IWGB won the right at the Central Arbitration Committee to set up a collective bargaining unit on behalf of TDL couriers, the first time in UK history that this had been done with a so-called “gig economy” employer. The couriers won a landmark deal on pay and conditions last year after a series of strikes.

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Like so many other companies in the so-called "gig economy", TDL behaves as if there are no consequences for repeatedly breaking the law. But the IWGB is going to fight for every pound of holiday pay that TDL refused to give its couriers over the past two decades. When the law is broken, someone needs to pay."

The IWGB is the leading union for precarious workers and workers in the so-called “gig economy”. It has led campaigns and strategic legal action against employers such as Uber, Deliveroo, Addison Lee and the University of London.

For more information:

Alex Marshall, IWGB Couriers and Logistics Branch Chair [email protected]