Couriers finally set for payout after beating Citysprint bosses in court again

The legal campaign has taken three years.

Couriers represented by the IWGB trade union could be awarded thousands of pounds in holiday pay after they defeated their employer Citysprint in court for a third time in a row.

The couriers have long argued that they are employees rather than independent contractors and therefore are entitled to holiday pay.

The workers first took Citysprint to court in 2017. They won as the judge criticised Citysprint’s contractual arrangements as “contorted, indecipherable window-dressing”.

But instead of paying out, the IWGB says Citysprint merely changed its contracts. The IWGB then had to take them back to court to fight for holiday pay and minimum wage.

In 2019, the couriers again won in court and now an employment tribunal has ruled that the couriers were workers both before and after a change in contracts.

CitySprint’s financial liability will be decided on at a further court case in October. The company has over 5,000 couriers across the UK.

Celebrating the victory, one of the claimants Phil Weber said: “This victory over CitySprint shows what strength there is in being part of an active frontline union like the IWGB. I hope it gives others courage.”

“So many ‘gig economy’ courier companies wrongly classify their workforce as self-employed independent contractors. We all know they’re playing the system to deny basic rights like holiday pay and pension contributions but most workers are afraid to stand up for themselves because as it is, there’s not enough work to go around and so little job security, we’re left fighting for scraps. But when we are united and fight together, things can turn out very differently.”

Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB General Secretary, added: “City Sprint and other ‘gig economy’ companies are making a mockery of the British legal system. If the law were enforced and sanctions were real, City Sprint wouldn’t have dreamed of simply acting like it hadn’t already lost a tribunal claim over its couriers’ workers’ rights. In the absence of the state enforcing the law, the IWGB will continue to hold these cowboy companies to account.”

Joe Lo is a co-editor of Left Foot Forward

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