Criticism over decision to change couriers’ contracts

A delivery firm has courted controversy over its response to an Employment Tribunal ruling from earlier this year.

CitySprint, which has around 3,500 couriers in the UK, had previously lost a case relating to the employment status of its workers.

Mags Dewhurst had brought a successful claim against the company, after claiming she had been wrongly categorised as self-employed.

The ruling opened the door for CitySprint’s couriers to benefit from rights such as the minimum wage and holiday pay, although the business had argued that the case had been “an individual appeal” and the outcome did not apply to others with the same working arrangements.

Now it has been revealed that the business has taken steps to change its contracts.

“We have updated our [cycle] courier tender documents to simplify the language in these, further clarifying the rights and flexibilities available to self-employed couriers who provide their services to us,” a CitySprint spokesperson said.

“We enjoy a great relationship with couriers, who continue to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of their current role.”

The move was criticised by both Ms Dewhurst and the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

Ms Dewhurst said: “As a result of my Tribunal claim, CitySprint has forced everyone at the penalty of losing our jobs to sign new documents they say are contracts, but we work in exactly the same way as before – nothing has changed.

“It’s a shame CitySprint would rather engage in legal shenanigans than pay me and my colleagues our holidays.”

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Donna Martin

Donna Martin

Partner at Mackrell Turner Garrett
Donna Martin is a Partner in the Employment team at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. She advises both employers and employees on a full range of contentious and non-contentious issues. As an employment law expert, Donna has significant experience in drafting employment contracts and handbooks, advising on grievance and disciplinary procedures and preparatory work prior to tribunals, including advising on the advantages and disadvantages of settling cases.