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Wed August 05 2020

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Pimlico Plumbers loses employment status appeal

10 Feb 17 Pimlico Plumbers has lost its appeal about the working rights of an employee that was technically self-employed.

Pimlico Plumbers' boss Charlie Mullins
Pimlico Plumbers' boss Charlie Mullins

Gary Smith claimed unfair dismissal against the London plumbing business after he was denied the opportunity to reduce his working hours following a heart attack.

The whole legal argument centres on the status of self-employed workers, of whom there are tens of thousands across the construction industry.

The GMB union said the Court of Appeal decision was a significant development in its campaign against ‘bogus’ self-employment.

Garry Smith had worked for Pimlico Plumbers in London from 2005 to 2011 under a contract stating he was self-employed. However, he was required to wear a Pimlico uniform, drive a Pimlico branded van and would be contacted by customers and sent on jobs by Pimlico.

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Following the termination of his contract he brought several claims, including unfair dismissal, to the employment tribunal. The 2012 tribunal determined that he was not an employee but was of ‘worker status.’ Workers do not benefit from all employment rights but they are entitled to holiday pay and the national minimum wage.

GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “This case, like the Uber case in October 2016, is yet another victory for the bogus self-employed who have been treated appallingly by their employer. All they want is basic employment rights as are enjoyed by the majority, including the right to be paid a minimum wage and holiday pay.”

Charlie Mullins, the company’s boss, said after the hearing that he had already changed the contracts of those who work for him on a self-employed basis. He added that an appeal to the Supreme Court was being considered.

The Court of Appeal judgment can be read in full at

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