Couriers responsible for delivering life-saving blood supplies have become the latest group to have started a legal battle to be recognised as workers.
A total of five cyclists, motorcyclists and van drivers who make emergency delivers to hospitals and laboratories are seeking to challenge the suggestion that they are independent contractors.
All of the individuals work for The Doctors Laboratory and are being supported by the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain.
The case follows on from similar claims brought against companies including Uber and Deliveroo, but this is the first to involve a business in the healthcare sector.
Ronni De Andrade, who is among the claimants, outlined why he was unhappy to be classed as self-employed.
“I risked my life every day to get emergency blood to people, but the company won’t even recognise my basic employee rights without a fight,” he said.
“I have been working for them for over five years and I don’t see my life progressing like this. I can’t get a mortgage, I have no pay when I go on holiday and I can’t get sick because I won’t get paid.”
The Government has already announced a review of employment practices in response to the growing number of workers being employed in the so-called gig economy.
But with another legal battle now underway, MPs are likely to come under fresh pressure to pass legislation to clarify employment status once the probe has been completed.
Hannah Reed, a senior policy officer at the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: “There should be a floor of rights for all working people – a single worker definition.”