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14th June 2018

Gig review

Plumber prevails as Supreme Court hands down landmark decision for ‘gig’ economy workers.

Few of those who have been following the recent spate of gig economy and self-employed worker cases will be surprised to learn that plumber Gary Smith has won his legal battle against Pimlico Plumbers for workers’ rights in a Supreme Court ruling.

Gary was VAT-registered and paying self-employed tax. But having worked solely for Pimlico Plumbers for six years, the court held he could claim worker status and was therefore entitled to employment rights, such as holiday and sick pay.

Charlie Mullins, CEO of Pimlico Plumbers, confessed to being “disgusted by the approach taken to this case by the highest court in the United Kingdom.”

In contrast, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the case had exposed “how widely sham self-employment has spread” and urged the Government act quickly to “crack down on bogus self-employment.” The TUC wants the “burden of proof” to be reversed so workers benefit from rights “unless the employer can show they are genuinely self-employed.”

It is almost a year since the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices was published and the recommendations made are slowly working through the parliamentary process. The ongoing litigation emphasises the need for the Government to get legislation onto the statute book sooner rather than later.

For more information about the Pimlico Plumbers case, or to discuss any employment law-related matter, please contact Jeremy Nixon in Thrings’ Employment and Immigration team.

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