Strike at Royal Mail subsidiary over ‘gig economy’ conditions

Royal Mail's gig economy subsidiary faces strikes over wages, pay, conditions and contracts.

Couriers employed by Royal Mail’s same-day subsidiary company ECourier will strike Thursday and Friday to protest over basic employment rights.

The strike today follows the sacking yesterday – as reported by Left Foot Forward – of activist Mike Hutchinson after he wrote for us about the forthcoming action.

Speaking to Left Foot Forward, Mike told us he was sacked over a ‘spurious excuse’ over a rental contract. Mike says he was given no advance warning and was not allowed to take a union representative in with him.

Mike had been with the company for three years and it was his only source of income. he says it is “Without a doubt” a case of union victimisation.

It also comes two years after the firm was forced, through action by the IWGB, to acknowledge that one courier, Demille Flanore, was a worker.

This was followed by a companywide review in which IWGB were excluded from participation, the vast majority of workers are still classified as independent contractors.

IWGB Vice President and ECourier courier Max Dewhurst said

“No low-paid worker makes the sacrifice of industrial action and risks going toe-to-toe with a multi-million-pound corporation unless pushed to the brink. We have now been pushed to the brink. Every opportunity we have given eCourier to join us at the negotiating table has been refused. But we will not be bullied into silence another day. We are workers. We demand to be recognised as such. We demand a living wage and dignified conditions.”

UPDATE: An eCourier spokesman said: “The article is inaccurate. There has been no dismissal and as far as we are concerned, Mr Hutchinson’s work contract with the company remains in place.”

Emma Burnell is a freelance journalist and consultant.

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3 Responses to “Strike at Royal Mail subsidiary over ‘gig economy’ conditions”

  1. Patrick Newman

    This is what neo-liberalism is all about – driving down wages and attritioning terms and conditions to such an extent the company is able to deny it has employees. It is a condition gaining strength over many years from when public bodies were forced to put out basic services (like hospital cleaning) to tender from the private sector. The last Labour government did little about it and hopefully, a Corbyn lead administration will implement a new progressive social contract for employment and work.

  2. Tom Sacold

    Remember that Royal Mail was privatised under the direct instructions of the neo-liberal EU.

    This is the sort of future economic environment that the EU is planning.

  3. Patrick Newman

    “Royal Mail was privatised under the direct instructions of the neo-liberal EU.” I think that is a lie. You have 24hrs to produce the evidence.

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