Cycle couriers found to be workers


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An employment tribunal has held in Mr S O'Eachtiarna and others v CitySprint (UK) Ltd that five cycle couriers were workers for the purposes of a holiday pay claim.

The tribunal had previously found in January 2017 that a courier engaged by CitySprint on an earlier contract was a worker under section 230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.  A change in contractual terms had then been made in November 2017, but the tribunal held in O'Eachtiarna that the couriers remained workers after that date.  Although there was a contractual right of substitution, it was theoretical and had never been exercised and the dominant feature of the contract remained personal performance.  CitySprint was not a client or customer of a profession or undertaking.  Most of the couriers did other work, but they did not provide their services as a cycle courier elsewhere or market themselves as providing cycle courier services.

Take note:  This is the latest in a long line of cases in which ostensibly self-employed contractors have been found to be workers.  A contractual right of substitution will not necessarily defeat the requirement for personal performance, particularly if it has never been exercised.   
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