Royal Mail loses appeal over agency workers’ status

14 July 2020

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that individual workers for Royal Mail are in fact agency workers and therefore are entitled to the same employment rights as other employees. 

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has thrown out an appeal lodged by Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd and Royal Mail Group Ltd against the Employment Tribunal’s decision that Mr D Kocur (and others- the “Raczynska Claimants” ) who worked for the organisations named above, was an agency worker within the meaning of Regulation 3 Agency Workers Regulations.

Agency workers have the right to be treated no less favourably when compared to those who are employed by the organisation as per the Agency Workers regulations 2010. This means that they have the same right to basic employment and working conditions, including bonus’, annual leave and paid time off for antenatal appoints after the agency worker has completed a 12-week qualifying period.

Solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, are currently pursuing a Group Action Litigation on behalf of 67 agency workers, in their employment tribunal claims against Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd (who had been engaged as agents for Royal Mail to find workers) and Royal Mail Group Ltd on the grounds of the unequal treatment of the agency workers Angard Staffing Solutions supplied.

Following a Preliminary Hearing held on 15 August 2019, the Employment Tribunal had held that Mr Kocur was an “agency worker” within the meaning of Regulation 3 and that Angard is a “temporary work agency” within Regulation 4. 

Angard Staffing Solutions and Royal Mail Group had appealed against this decision and contended that Mr Kocur was not an agency worker and therefore not entitled to the same rights as other employees. Mr Kocur and the Raczynska Claimants continued to maintain that the Tribunal’s decision was correct.  

Judge Auerbach advised that the Employment Tribunal had thoroughly looked at all the factors- not just Mr Kocur’s contract with Angard Staffing Solutions, but also what had happened in practice and had correctly interpreted case law, particularly Moran and Brooknight in coming to its conclusions. 

It properly found at [38] that: “Every engagement over the four years was for a finite period.”  It went on to properly find at [39] that: “The defined periods of work to provide cover is fatal to the argument that it is not temporary.” And “The Tribunal went on rightly to conclude that there was no reason to suppose that the Directive was not intended to apply where the agency supplied workers to only one hirer.”

The EAT concluded “For all of these reasons the appeal is dismissed.”

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