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Channel 4 News: Current Employment Law Is Not Fit For Purpose

Charlie MullinsThursday 14th June 2018
Charlie Mullins

The five Supreme Court judges, who heard the appeal in February, found in favour of Mr Smith, which will impact employers across the country.

For those who think this is a victory for poorly paid workers everywhere, against large corporations who exploit their lack of bargaining power, think again.

In fact, this was exploitation, but instead by a highly-paid, highly-skilled man who used a loophole in current employment law to set himself up for a double pay-day.

The shame of all this is that it is generally accepted that current employment law is not fit for purpose, and needs to be changed.  But when it's put to the test in our highest court there isn't even the slightest suggestion that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. 

I have to say however that this case is not like Uber and the other ‘gig-economy’ cases.  The engineers who contract to Pimlico Plumbers are very highly-skilled individuals, who can go anywhere and do whatever they want.  They earn six-figures when they work with our customers, which is why they are so keen to do it!

It is also true that engineers can choose when they want to work.  They do not have to make themselves available to Pimlico Plumbers, and can take time off whenever they want.

As a company Pimlico Plumbers wants to comply with its obligations and it has always been our genuine belief that we have been doing that.  HMRC has looked into the situation in the past and told us that engineers are self-employed.  We have been operating in accordance with that.

Watch my full interview here.