Hermes self-employed drivers can now choose between different self-employment models, following a deal between the delivery company and the GMB Union.
They can now opt in to become ‘self-employed plus’, in what the GMB says is the first recognition deal of its type. The agreement, secured under collective bargaining, gives self-employed couriers the ability to opt-in to benefits including up to 28 days of holiday pay a year – depending on how many hours they work for the company – and individually negotiated pay rates that will allow couriers to earn at least £8.55 an hour over the year. They can also opt to be represented by the union.
Alternatively, they may decide to keep their existing self-employed status and earn higher rates, but without the holiday entitlement.
Martijn de Lange, Hermes UK chief executive, said: “This new option allows couriers to retain the flexibility of self-employment that we know is so important to them and gives them the certainly 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 companies 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 people’s differing needs.”
Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “Full credit to Hermes. They’re showing that the gig economy doesn’t have to be an exploitative economy and we look forward to working with them through this groundbreaking agreement. Other employers should take notice, this is how it’s done.”
The move comes months after delivery company DPD launched a new Driver Code that it said would make it the first choice employer for delivery workers in an increasingly competitive market. Back in May, it offered its drivers the choice between becoming employed, self-employed or working as a franchisee. Those who opted to become employed would earn the equivalent to £28,800 a year, full-time, while also earning pension, paid holiday and sick pay. All drivers who contracted directly with DPD would receive the equivalent of the real living wage, while a new points-based service failure system replaced fines that were previously levied when drivers missed shifts.
All DPD owner drivers were briefed on the changes last September and given the opportunity to apply for a worker contract within an initial six-week window. DPD writes to all owner drivers once a year, on the anniversary of their contract start date, to offer them the chance to change their contract type. "Over 460 of these letters have been sent out over the last two months and applications for the worker contract and the employed contract have been received," said a DPD spokesperson today.
Image courtesy of Hermes