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To not know what to do

(24 Posts)
SEmyarse Tue 10-Mar-15 21:19:06

I work for hermes as a delivery driver, and have for the last 6 years. I am classed as self employed for reasons that elude me, along with the other 10000ish couriers nationwide. The only way we can get any time off is by supplying a replacement person to do our work if we're away. This is ridiculously hard since you have to find someone with a large enough vehicle, with appropriate insurance who only wants very sporadic work, so mostly people get very very little time off. You also usually have to work when ill, although if someone is really very ill we will try to help each other out. Hermes won't help at all and just threaten to withdraw our work.

The one time that we've always had off is bank holidays. Suddenly though, with 4 weeks to go till easter they've sent out a round robin message on our terminals cancelling the bank holidays and saying everyone must work. Of course, some people have already arranged to be on holiday over easter and have got a cover person to do the rest of the week, but not the bank holidays since it wasn't thought necessary. Many of us have no hope of finding childcare even if we are here on a bank holiday. I personally cannot get a response from my 'manager' but many people are being told if they don't work the bank holidays then they have no job to come back to on the Tuesday.

i think this is outrageous and really don't want to work, but technically this time isn't too huge a problem for me. I don't have any plans, and could go in, but I really want to make a stand and support those who are hugely affected. If enough of us refuse I'm guessing they won't pull this stunt again, or at least outline new terms with plenty of notice? But is that crazy to risk my job for others, when actually I am available. I do have a holiday booked in May half term, so its going to become an issue then, there's no way i'm coming back from Wales for one day.

But at the same time if they set a precedent then that will be it! I really don't want to lose boxing day, I already work 70+ hours per week during December, and the last couple of years we had to do sundays too. I am utterly exhausted by christmas day having been out of the house from 8am to 8pm 7 days per week, is it really too much to ask for 2 days off before we start with crazy hours again for the sale stuff, it doesn't calm down till well into January?

So do I refuse the easter bank and risk my job, or just suck it up as usual?

TheHappinessTrap Tue 10-Mar-15 21:21:59

The work seems unregulated. Is there a suitable union you could all join?

SEmyarse Tue 10-Mar-15 21:34:16

We fought for the right to be recognised by USDAW union, but they can apparently only represent us if we get over 50% membership.

The irony of that of course is that we have no way of knowing when we reach 50% since hermes class us as self employed so don't release the proper number of couriers. The more members we get, the higher Hermes quote the number of couriers to be! It's also incredibly difficult to contact large numbers of couriers to recruit them. We're actually 'not allowed' to speak to each other, which of course we ignore (how else would we get cover help?), but there's no real way of contacting couriers in other areas.

SuggestmeaUsername Tue 10-Mar-15 21:41:48

I think you should take this to the Employment/Legal forums on MN as there are very knowledgeable people who can help you on there.

I would cast doubt on their ability to process any of you as self employed rather than employed. Your status there sounds very much on an employed basis in which case you would be entitled to a minimum amount of holidays and other terms and conditions.

Do not mention the company name on here though

Dowser Tue 10-Mar-15 22:02:18

I know nothing of which you speak but wanted to say I'm shocked that a company can treat you so badly.

Perhaps if customers boycott Hermes then the company will back down.

Facebook, twitter..any of the social media

I can't stand any form of bully boy tactics and that is exactly what this is.

I'm sure we can all go without a parcel for a day In Order for people to have a holiday.

What is this country coming too.
Maybe a Facebook campaign to highlight how many members there are is needed.

What about a campaign through change.org

Good luck. I'm incensed on your behalf.

Marylou2 Tue 10-Mar-15 22:16:46

If it's OK with you I'd like to post a link to this thread on the Boden and Next Facebook pages to see if they will comment.I get loads of Hermes deliveries from them and I know my lovely Hermes delivery driver is looking to leave as she's had enough.I'm sorry you're being treated so badly OP.

gamerchick Tue 10-Mar-15 22:21:51

It's not just hermes.

SEmyarse Wed 11-Mar-15 07:08:34

Yes, anyone that wants to use this thread to spread the word is welcome. I'm not very tech savvy at all, so please go for it if you feel strongly enough.

donkir Wed 11-Mar-15 08:26:00

I've posted the link to my Hermes Facebook page.

SocialMediaAddict Wed 11-Mar-15 08:50:36

This makes me want to stop ordering. Shocking way to treat people.

Droflove Wed 11-Mar-15 10:24:26

That is disgraceful. Feel like boycotting.

gamerchick Wed 11-Mar-15 10:27:30

Going to stop ordering from anywhere who uses parcel carriers? It's not just hermes who have had this news.

More and more people are ordering online and who hasn't had a twist about where is their parcel and the whole impatience waiting for one coming.

What did you expect would happen? One major carrier shut a few months ago and I would expect this to have a knock on effect on all parcel carriers. Those parcels have to be delivered by someone... They don't stop coming.

Charlesroi Wed 11-Mar-15 10:52:36

It doesn't sound like you are self-employed if your 'client' can dictate your working hours. I really hope HMR&C take an interest in this as this form of work allocation is depriving them of Employers NI revenue. (which is, of course, why they use this model)

FenellaFellorick Wed 11-Mar-15 10:54:50

perhaps you should contact hmrc for clarification on your employment status given hermes claim you are self employed yet dictate your hours, conditions and pay?

molyholy Wed 11-Mar-15 11:56:08

Nothing to add OP - sorry, but just wanted to say that this is a bloody disgraceful way to treat people!!!!

Mrscog Wed 11-Mar-15 12:34:33

Unless you have more than 1 employer you are not self-employed - especially not in HMRC's eyes. If you are Self Employed one of the perks is that you're your own boss and you can take whatever leave/sick time off you need (the downside is you don't get paid).

chocolateyy Wed 11-Mar-15 13:27:10

According to HMRC, you are classed as self-employed if "you can decide what work you do and when, where or how to do it"

So, on that basis, you would be classed as either a worker or an employee.

However, as you say, they can simply not offer you work any longer, which would fall within being self-employed.

Sorry, not a lot of help.

lacksdirection Wed 11-Mar-15 13:57:44

I don't think you will find enough couriers willing to boycott tbh.
I'd be looking for another job.

Lilicat1013 Wed 11-Mar-15 14:14:15

That is really shit, I order everything online, I have two disabled children so don't get to shop much. Our Hermes driver is lovely and I hate to think of him because treated like this.

I wouldn't expect a parcel on a bank holiday, I am sure most people wouldn't. I would think a lot of people would be out.

I have no real advice but wanted to voice my support, those is a terrible way to treat staff. The self employed bit is crap because you clearly do work for them otherwise you could work when you want.

I hope you are able to get it sorted.

SuggestmeaUsername Wed 11-Mar-15 14:25:58

could you find enough couriers to agree to contact hmrc regarding employment/self employment status? I bet that would scare the comopany if they found they were going to have to convert everyones status to employed, probably backdated aswell. you would all then have proper employment law protection and better terms and conditions probably

SEmyarse Wed 11-Mar-15 16:20:55

Thankyou everyone, this seems to be escalating nicely. We have contact from BBC look north, radio 4 and Rachel Reeves MP who all want to help out. There's lots of informal spreading of the word also, and it is starting to feel like hermes are running scared. The areas that have had contact from the managers are starting to say (in some cases) that they're being asked to work but told their job isn't under threat if they don't.

Locally I can't get any contact from management at all, even though I need it for a completely different issue. But it is starting to look like hermes may do a uturn on this one. fingers crossed!

SEmyarse Wed 11-Mar-15 16:26:38

Years ago a courier successfully took a similar company to court, and it was found that we are neither employed nor self employed but workers under direction. The company then appealed and the courier ran out of financial backing to take it any further, so it was never fully resolved. It was left on file (as I understand) for anyone else to take it up.

But that company was redcats, who subsequently merged with parcel net, and then eventually became hermes, so whoever takes it back on will have to start from scratch. It took years the first time, and apparently hermes could appeal almost indefinitely. I don't really understand tbh but that's what I've been told.

SuggestmeaUsername Wed 11-Mar-15 16:28:00

Good. Good luck with this SEmyarse

HelenaDove Mon 21-Nov-16 01:27:32

www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/20/road-safety-risk-tired-black-friday-delivery-drivers-health-and-safety-executive

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