DPD is to offer its 6,000 drivers sick and holiday pay, as well as abolishing its £150 daily fines for missing work. This is as part of an overhaul of its employment scheme, which treated more than 5,000 of its drivers as self-employed franchisees.
The previous scheme followed a “gig economy” model that has been broadly criticised in multiple industries for treating workers as full employees while not giving them the same job security and employment rights, on the basis that they are independent contractors.
DPD drivers now have the choice to remain self-employed, to become full employees, or to get paid per delivery but still have access to holiday pay, sick pay and a pension scheme.
The changes followed a media storm over the death of driver Don Lane, who died of diabetes following multiple collapses. His widow, Ruth Lane, claimed that he felt pressured to miss appointments with medical specialists because of the daily fine DPD levied on drivers who could not provide cover for their rounds.
The courier company disputed this version of events but issued an apology for one occasion when a fine was applied by mistake.
DPD is the first courier company to reform its use of the gig economy model. Other courier companies with similar employment schemes include Yodel, Hermes and UK Mail.