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Citysprint cycle courier a worker, not a self-employed contractor

A cycle courier for Citysprint was found to be a worker under the Employment Rights Act 1996, rather than self-employed, in a case similar to the Uber case decided in October 2016. The courier succeeded in a claim for two days’ paid holiday and would be entitled to sick pay and the national minimum wage.

The courier was required to log into the company’s Citytrakker tracking system when she was on circuit, and log out at the end of the day. She wore a uniform, was expected to work when she said she would, was directed by a controller (through radios and mobile phones), and was even told to smile, as part of providing a professional service.

Overall, Citysprint couriers have little autonomy to determine the manner in which their services are performed, and the tribunal agreed that the courier had been recruited by Citysprint to work for it, and was integrated into the business. Therefore, she was a worker.

This is the first of four employment status cases which are being brought against courier companies.

A Tribunal has also held that drivers acting for a partnership providing haulage services to the construction industry were employees rather than self-employed because the reality was that the partnership was dictating terms and there was no good evidence that the drivers were running their own businesses.

Challenging employment status is very topical. It is increasingly clear that the so-called “gig” economy, which relies on people being classed as self-employed, is seen as inconsistent with current law by Employment Tribunals.  There is a review of modern working practices due out in the Spring.