Pimlico Plumbers has been granted permission to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal, which ruled that one of the company’s former self-employed plumbers was entitled to employment rights.
CEO Charlie Mullins will take the case to the Supreme Court to appeal the case of Gary Smith, who despite being paid more than £500,000 over three years by Pimlico Plumbers, sued for employment rights, even though he signed a contract as a self-employed contractor.
The case, which has been running for more than six years, was heard by the Court of Appeal in February; however, the Supreme Court will now review the decision.
Charlie Mullins said: “It’s wonderful that we have been granted permission to appeal our long-running and potentially ground breaking employment case to the Supreme Court. I have always maintained that Mr Smith was a self-employed contractor, and to my mind the evidence overwhelmingly supports our position.
“Let me be crystal clear, I completely condemn disreputable companies who are using fake self-employment to swindle workers out of pay and conditions, however at Pimlico Plumbers we are not doing that. It is my determined aim to convince the Supreme Court that by using self-employed status, Pimlico Plumbers is doing nothing wrong, and what’s more is both morally and legally in the right.
“The ramifications of this case will impact upon many thousands of companies in the building industry and beyond and potentially affect the lives of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of UK workers. I am needless to say incredibly grateful that the Supreme Court has agreed to look again at the case.”
Charlie added: “Throughout this long legal process there has been a lot of confusion and misinformation. Often the case has been reported in the media alongside claims from arguably exploited people engaged in low paid and unskilled tasks, like Uber drivers and Deliveroo food couriers.
“There is, in reality, no comparison between a skilled trades person, like a plumber earning £150,000 a year, and a bike courier or mini-cab driver, struggling to make minimum wage. My people have great conditions and command huge money by virtue of their skills, and if they didn’t wear my uniform they can make almost as good a living elsewhere.
“There are exploited workers and there are Pimlico Plumbers and the two quite literally live in different worlds; the later have big houses, expensive cars, great holidays and can send their children to the best schools.
“This is the distinction that we are hoping to make clear to the Supreme Court. And to that end I was extremely buoyed by Matthew Taylor’s Review of Modern Working Practices, which identified a class of worker it called ‘Dependent Contractors’, who it felt were the true victims of a morally suspect use of self-employment.
“My people, with their heavily in demand, readily transferable skills, are in no way dependent on anyone or any company.”