Delivery firm Hermes is facing a possible investigation after a report alleged some of its drivers receive below the minimum wage. Issues have been raised in a report by MP Frank Field into complaints from 78 current and former Hermes couriers, and on the back of this, business minister Margot James has requested HM Revenue and Customs look into arrangements used by the firm.
Hermes said it would co-operate with an investigation, but that the report “does not reflect” the way it operates. According to the report, Hermes’s practice of employing its drivers as self-employed workers sees many of them “paid an hourly rate that is much lower than the National Living Wage”.
There are revelations that several couriers said their monthly earnings, after petrol costs, were less than £6.80 an hour, 40p an hour below the National Living Wage.
According to the BBC, the report also claimed there was “serious bullying from some of the middle-men and women who manage the operation for Hermes and who seem to be enforcing an employee contract under the cover of self-employment”.
In a statement Hermes said: “We do not believe that this report reflects the way our organisation operates.” The company said it was “committed to ensuring that everyone at Hermes operates in a supportive and compassionate manner”, and its code of conduct states couriers should be treated with “dignity and respect”.
Hermes said its couriers were paid an average of £9.80 an hour after expenses, which was above the £7.20 compulsory National Living Wage. The German owned firm also said HMRC had reviewed its courier model in 2011 and confirmed that it was legitimate. “We will co-operate fully with any investigation,” it added.
About Hermes delivery services in the UK
Hermes UK is owned by the German group Hermes Logistik Gruppe Deutschland (HLGD), currently the largest independent home delivery specialist for business-to-consumer (B2C) and consumer-to-consumer (C2C) sectors in Germany.
Within the UK, Hermes operates a network of over 10,000 lifestyle couriers and over 4,500 ParcelShops. The company says it has developed a “multi-channel approach” which offers a convenient delivery experience and ensures that up to 95% of parcels are delivered first time.
Hermes provided delivery services for major retailers including Next Directory, ASOS, Tesco, John Lewis, Debenhams and Arcadia Group.
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