Parcel delivery organisation Hermes has agreed a collective bargaining agreement with the trade union GMB for its 15,000 self-employed couriers, giving them the option to earn holiday pay and have a guaranteed rate of pay.
The agreement, which has been designed to support the rights of self-employed individuals providing courier services to Hermes, enables workers to choose a new ‘self-employed plus’ status.
This allows them to receive benefits such as holiday pay, prorated up to 28 days, and an individually negotiated rate of pay; couriers will be able to earn at least £8.55 an hour over the year. These couriers will also be represented by GMB.
Martijn de Lange, chief executive officer, UK at Hermes, said: “This new option allows couriers to retain the flexibility of self-employment we know is so important to them and gives them the certainty of guaranteed levels of earning, the security of holiday pay and a strong voice.
“We’re proud to be leading the way with this pioneering development, which we hope will encourage other [organisations] to reflect on the employment models they use.
“We have listened to our couriers and are wholeheartedly committed to offering innovative ways of working to meet peoples’ differing needs.”
The ‘self-employed plus’ status will operate on an opt-in basis, and couriers who wish to remain in their current form of self-employment can do so.
Tim Roache, general secretary at GMB, added: “Hermes is leading the way; looking after the people who work for [the organisation] on the ground, day in, day out, is not only good for business, but the right thing to do.
“As a result of our groundbreaking agreement, couriers will have a real voice in their workplace as well as the right to holiday pay and guaranteed pay, something GMB has long been campaigning for on behalf of our members.
“Full credit to Hermes. [It is] showing that the gig economy doesn’t have to be an exploitative economy and we look forward to working with [the organisation] through this groundbreaking agreement. Other employers should take notice; this is how it’s done.”