FIRST Union is describing today's decision by the Employment Court reclassifying a contract courier driver as an employee as a land-mark decision that will have a ripple effect throughout the industry.
Chief Judge Christina Inglis ruled in favour of Mike Letoa’s application to be determined an employee of Parcel Express Limited earlier today. Courier giant Frieghtways Limited were also an intervener in the case, arguing unsuccessfully in favour of the defendant.
In her judgement, Inglis said, "the essential issue in a case such as this is whether the worker serves their own business or someone else’s business."
"This is a landmark decision that will have huge implications across the entire industry and potentially other industries that blur the boundaries between contractors and employees," said Jared Abbott, FIRST Union Secretary for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing.
"The decision reinforces our view that most courier drivers currently operating as independent contractors are in fact serving someone else’s business."
An ‘industry expert’ introduced by Freightways argued that Parcel Express’s systems and practices were ("in most instances") consistent with [Freightways] own practices.
"Given Freightways argued that their practices are the same, there may be quite a few former and current Freightways drivers considering claiming benefits they are entitled to as employees," added Abbott.