Courier firm Hermes agrees holiday pay and wage rates for 'gig economy' workers

Courier firm Hermes has agreed a deal to offer its workers holiday pay and guaranteed wage rates.

The "groundbreaking" deal was agreed by Hermes and the trade union GMB, with its details announced on Monday.

GMB said the collective bargaining agreement was the first of its kind, giving self-employed couriers the option of holiday pay and guaranteed earnings.

Unions have been campaigning for years for employment rights for workers in the so-called gig economy.

Under the new agreement, Hermes couriers can become "self-employed plus", giving them access to the new benefits. Couriers can retain their current form of self-employed status.

Hermes has agreed to implement holiday pay and guaranteed earnings.

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: "Hermes is leading the way, looking after the people who work for you 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 the GMB has long been campaigning for on behalf of our members.

"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."

Martijn de Lange, chief executive of Hermes UK, 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 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 peoples' differing needs."

Mr de Lange told ITV News he hoped the government would embrace the gig economy rather than creating more legislation that could force companies to take on a fully employed workforce at the risk of thousands of jobs.

He said: "If you would do that in our company then you would, for example, reduce 15,000 couriers to maybe 6,000 employees, which effectively means that 9,000 people would lose their jobs - people that have actually built up a flexible job that fits in with their lifestyle."