Another “Spoke in the Wheel” of the Gig Economy? Tribunal finds bike courier to be worker

Published on: 13/01/2017

#Atypical & Flexible Working

Following in the tracks of the recent “Uber” case, in Dewhurst v Citysprint UK Ltd a cycle courier has been found to be a worker and not self- employed as the employer claimed.

The courier had a contract which stated that she was a self-employed “contractor”, that there was no mutual obligation for work and that she could appoint a substitute. However, the Tribunal held that, in practice, this was not the case.

In determining that she was a worker, the Tribunal commented that the courier was unwilling to turn down work in case she was not given more. A situation described by the Tribunal as “inequality of bargaining power at work”.

The case is a reminder than Tribunals will look past the pure contractual wording and examine what happens in practice. Although the worker in this case was only claiming two days’ holiday pay, the decision will add to the pressure on the “gig” economy with similar cases in the pipeline. Like Uber, an appeal is possible.


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