Landmark ‘gig economy’ case reaches Supreme Court

Landmark ‘gig economy’ case reaches Supreme Court

A high-profile case that is expected to have wide-ranging ramifications for workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ will reach the Supreme Court today.

Pimlico Plumbers and its founder, Charlie Mullins, is bringing an appeal asking the court to decide whether its plumbers should be considered to be independent contractors or as workers, entitled to employment rights.

The case comes after plumber, Gary Smith, won a case at the Court of Appeal which found that he was a worker on the basis that he had to use firm’s van and had to work a minimum number of hours each week.

The ruling means he is able to bring claims against Pimlico Plumbers in respect of disability discrimination, holiday pay and wage deductions.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Mullins said: “This is a groundbreaking case. The country needs clarity on this issue of whether someone is a worker or self-employed. The outcome will affect lots of businesses. It’s not just about us.”

Meanwhile, Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, said: “Tribunals’ and courts’ interpretations of these issues have done quite well to keep up with the times – that’s why nearly all high-profile ‘gig economy’ cases have declared the individual to be a worker, and consequently entitled to minimum wage rights and holiday pay.

“I expect the Supreme Court will do the same with the Pimlico Plumbers case.”

The decision of the Supreme Court could have far-reaching implications, with cases involving Uber and Deliveroo set to come before the courts this year.