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Some Hermes drivers working for free for hours a day, union says

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Some Hermes drivers working for free for hours a day, union says

Post by TrueBlueTerrier »

https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... union-says

Couriers say they feel compelled to ‘muck in’ with parcel sorting process in understaffed depots

Drivers at one of the UK’s largest delivery firms say they are having to work for free for several hours a day, according to their representatives, despite the company expanding its workforce by thousands during the pandemic.

Union officials said they had challenged Hermes UK following multiple complaints from couriers in several areas of the country who say they feel compelled to “muck in” with the parcel sorting process in understaffed depots because they cannot start earning any money until it is done. While some are paid for this work, many are not, the GMB union said.

“We are challenging it because it is wrong. People should not be working for free and people should not be exploited into working for free,” said the union’s national officer Mick Rix.

Several drivers came forward to describe the “impossible choice” they regularly face. Speaking under condition of anonymity, they explained that as they get paid per delivery, they are entirely dependent on the sorting process being completed before they can start their working day.

Most of the roughly 600 depots upon which Hermes relies are run by contractors, and many are routinely understaffed, they said, meaning the process can sometimes be lengthy.

As a result, many feel compelled to go in early and help with the sorting without pay because their alternative would be to start late in the day and work until well after dark to get their deliveries done and keep up their earnings.

“There is this relationship that you find that exists in the gig economy where you think: how far do the norms go before it becomes accepted? What seems to be the acceptance here is that people are sorting parcels to ensure that they can get their deliveries out and they’re doing it for free,” said Rix.

“We’re trying to get to the bottom of why this is happening and why there seems to be this expectancy. Because Hermes is a multimillion-pound operation at the end of the day and it can afford to put these things in place.”

Thousands of people have turned to delivery driving since the Covid lockdowns started, adding to an already booming industry as other sectors cut jobs and parcel delivery volumes exploded.

The food delivery app Just Eat reported a 57% increase in delivery orders, while the supermarkets Tesco and Iceland recruited a combined total of more than 9,000 extra delivery drivers.

Waitrose and John Lewis together said their deliveries had increased by nearly 60%, while Iceland reported a 300% increase in deliveries and Sainsbury’s a 150% increase. The delivery firm Yodel said its delivery volume had grown by 50%, while Hermes said it had had a 60% increase and taken on 13,000 more couriers. And according to ONS data, the industry was already growing before the pandemic hit.

Rix said large-scale change was needed in the industry as the UK emerged from the pandemic. “Sometimes you’ve got to wonder: is the success of companies such as Hermes in some respects because they can charge such a low price to clients and customers, because there’s a workforce that’s subsidising that price?” he said.

“We think that is part of the model that has now got to change for the future. You can’t say you are decent companies if you are not treating people and looking after people well. People are just not going to wear that any more.”

Hermes said: “Parcel sorting is the responsibility of the delivery unit controller with whom Hermes subcontracts. Couriers are not expected to carry out sortation unless separately engaged and paid by the controller. Additional support is provided by Hermes to delivery units that are unable to meet the necessary timings due to volumes. This is fully audited weekly.”

Asked if the firm denied that the practice had existed in some of the depots upon which its system relies, a spokesperson said: “No … if it happens it is picked up by the weekly audit and addressed.”
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Phantom
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Re: Some Hermes drivers working for free for hours a day, union says

Post by Phantom »

f***ing idiots working for free and starting before their time, now where have i seen that before?
CUT OFF!!!
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