by Darren Robinson Photography

Hermes is to increase its self-employed couriers' pay to meet competition for the workers as the e-retail market surges.

The carrier is increasing the minimum hourly pay from £8.50 to £9.10 from 1 June which, with expenses added, will bring their take-home pay up to £10.70 an hour.

The pay increase comes two years after Hermes came under fire over working conditions for its couriers, which resulted in MP Frank Field calling on HMRC to investigate the carrier, and accused it of paying couriers below the minimum wage.

martijn de lange

Hermes CEO Martijn de Lange

Then-CEO Carole Walker admitted the company had not been as compassionate as it could have been, but the business has since installed a new code of conduct as well as an external ombudsman that self-employed workers can go to if they believe they have been treated unfairly.

Current CEO Martijn de Lange told MT the upcoming rate increase for its couriers is a response to increased competition for self-employed workers.

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He said: "With the continued growth of online retail and the consequent high demand for final mile delivery, we are seeing our competitors such as Amazon Logistics expand their operations and others such as DPD, through their DPD Local service, try to mimic characteristics of the self-employed courier network that Hermes operates.

"This means that there is significant competition for the services of self-employed couriers."

He added Hermes will be contacting its couriers to renegotiate their payment and that "couriers will be free to contact Hermes at any time - as they always are - to initiate a rate review and negotiation".

"Hermes is proud of the way in which its continual growth allows it to offer the opportunity to individuals to start their own business and work flexibly around their life commitments on a self-employed basis," de Lange added, "and for those individuals to benefit directly from higher parcels volumes and earning potential when Hermes maintains or grows its share of an expanding market."

De Lange took the reigns at the parcel carrier earlier this year after the promotion of Carole Walker to CEO of Hermes Europe.

Last month, rival DPD said it would grant its self-employed workers new rights including sick pay, annual leave and a pension as part of a new driver code.