Dewhurst (and others) vs Revisecatch and City Sprint UK Ltd ET/220251/2016

Although this is an Employment Tribunal case, so not binding in the same way that an Employment Appeal Tribunal or Court of Appeal case would be, it’s important. The tribunal decided, for the first time, that ‘workers’ should be transferred under TUPE.

Mrs Dewhurst (and others) were cycle couriers engaged by City Sprint under self-employed contracts. They claimed that they were in fact ‘workers’ and were therefore entitled to holiday pay amongst other rights. The tribunal agreed on the basis that the reality of their relationship with City Sprint was that of a worker. The decision was entirely consistent with the Uber, Pimlico Plumbers and other similar decisions. City Sprint did not pay the amounts due to the ‘workers’ and separately lost a service contract, which Mrs Dewhurst worked on, to Revisecatch.

Under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations, commonly known as TUPE, when an employer takes on a business or area of work from another employer they must also take on the staff who are assigned to that area of work or business.

City Sprint did not transfer the ‘workers’ to Revisecatch. Mrs Dewhurst claimed they should have transferred and that City Sprint had failed to consult with them, as required by the TUPE regulations.

Tribunal decision
The tribunal went back to the legislation and interpreted it to mean that it was not only ‘employees’ who transferred under TUPE but also ‘workers.’

Revisecatch have said they will appeal. If the Employment Appeal Tribunal agrees with the decision of the tribunal, which seems entirely possible, the implications for employers involved in TUPE transfers could be significant.

Watch this space!