Evri courier and customer

Leading B2C parcels delivery firm Hermes UK is to rebrand as ‘Evri’ and will auto-enrol its self-employed plus (SE+) couriers who make up 85% of its workforce into a company pension scheme by the end of this year.

Evri said this was a UK logistics industry first and will see the firm contribute 3% of couriers' earnings into a pension pot, costing it at least £7m a year, while the couriers contribute a minimum of 5% of earnings – though they can opt out of the pension scheme. In addition, Evri will introduce the right to maternity or paternity leave for all SE+ couriers with effect from March 2022.

Stephen Timms MP, chair of the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, said: “This is a huge step in the right direction and will help thousands of couriers plan for retirement. I am delighted to see Hermes provide pensions and parental leave in addition to the holiday pay, guaranteed pay rates and union recognition already available.”

Evri CEO Martijn de Lange said: “When we first announced our SE+ model in 2019 we committed to continuing to develop our support for our self-employed couriers and we are proud to have been true to that and be leading the industry once again.

"Our couriers receive guaranteed pay rates, paid holiday and now a pension but have also been able to retain the flexibility that so many treasure, fitting in their deliveries alongside their other (often family) commitments.”

Steve Garelick, GMB organiser, said: “This breakthrough deal is a massive step forward and will make work better for GMB members. Tens of thousands of couriers will now have the safety and security of knowing their retirement plans are being looked after.

"Meanwhile, the right to maternity and paternity leave will break down barriers previously blocking those with children from entering the profession. GMB and Evri have shown once again that when trade unions and businesses are in agreement, the so-called gig economy can be a better place.”

The rebrand will also see a significant investment in customer service, including Evri opening a fully UK-based customer service team, adding 200 experts who will be based in local depots, upgrading its chatbot and releasing more phone lines for those who prefer to speak to a human being.

De Lange continued: “This rebrand follows significant investment and two years of dramatic growth which has resulted in our entire business going through a major transformation programme. It is more than just a name change – it is a statement of intent of our commitment to leading the way in creating responsible delivery experiences for ‘Evri one’, ‘Evri where’.”

The Evri brand also reflects the firm’s commitment to electric vehicles, part of its net-zero target for direct and indirect emissions for 2035.

The company will be launching the new look with its first TV advertising campaign, kicking off at 8.15pm on Friday 18 March in the prime Coronation Street centre advert break. The ad will also be broadcast in the half time break of the England v France 6 Nations rugby match on Saturday 19 March.

Evri is second only to the Royal Mail in terms of parcel volumes delivered in the UK. It started in Bradford when as the Grattan catalogue company introduced mail order in 1974. In 1999, Grattan and Freeman’s merged their delivery operations to form Parcelnet and in 2008 Parcelnet formed closer links with its sister Otto Group company in Germany and rebranded as Hermes Parcelnet.

In August 2020 private equity firm Advent partnered with the current management to acquire a 75% stake in Hermes UK while Otto Group continues to own 25%.