Royal Mail loses appeal against agency worker decision

Royal Mail Group and Angard Staffing Solutions, have lost their appeal against the decision that a group of workers could be defined as agency workers and are entitled to the same employment rights as Royal Mail employees. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) agreed with an employment tribunal’s decision that Mr D Kocur, who had worked for Angard since 2015, is an “agency worker”.

Mr Kocur was employed by Angard Staffing Solutions and seconded to Royal Mail to work at a sorting centre in Leeds. He reached 12 weeks’ continuous service by June 2015, triggering his right to equal treatment with Royal Mail employees under the regulations. In October 2015 he  raised a grievance about getting shorter breaks than the direct Royal Mail employees. He also took the company and Angard to tribunal for other instances of alleged unfair treatment such as not being given a swipe card to access the premises; being denied access to the on-site fitness centre and not being paid for rest breaks or receiving the same level of annual leave entitlement.

The crux of the issue was whether or not Kocur was “supplied” by the agency Angard Staffing to “work temporarily” for Royal Mail. Having found that each and every assignment was for a defined period by reference to particular shift(s), the tribunal concluded that Koncur was supplied to work temporarily. Such defined periods of work undermines any argument that it is not temporary.

A further argument was around whether Angard is indeed an “agency” because it supplies only to Royal Mail. Summing up the position, Judge Auerbach concluded that the there was no reason to suppose that the AWR Directive was not intended to apply where the agency supplied workers to only one hirer.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is currently pursuing a group action litigation on behalf of 67 agency workers against Angard Staffing Solutions and Royal Mail on the grounds of unfair treatment of the agency workers. We will of course publish further details once known.

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