From one employment status feature to another. Hermes has drawn a lot of flak as being one of the companies at the forefront of the gig economy. Some spectators see the process of gig work as, at best, a means to save cost, and at worst, abusive.
In a change from the doom and gloom that often surrounds gig-economy news, Hermes has taken steps to be ahead of the curve and offer a new kind of employment status. As part of a self-employment plus scheme, Hermes will offer couriers the chance to move from self-employment to contracts that include 28 days paid holiday and a minimum hourly rate of £8.50. In return Hermes will have a greater degree of control over the drivers’ routes.
For those couriers who do genuinely wish to be self-employed, the offer of self-employed work is still there but it is expected many of the 15,000 couriers who work for Hermes will switch over to the new offer.
Two interesting points arise from this. Firstly, this change in stance by Hermes has been self-driven and is unconnected to any proposed government reforms.
Secondly, this contract was negotiated with the GMB trade union. In most gig economy cases, employment status has focused on right to holiday and the NMW. Collective bargaining never really featured save for the case of Deliveroo. What this case shows is that we may see more and more gig-employers following the collective agreement approach brokered by GMB.