The GMB union has attacked delivery firm Hermes claiming it is putting its drivers and the public at risk by failing to ensure couriers have business insurance. 

The workers rights group also claimed drivers who do not produce a confirmation letter from their insurer stating they are adequately covered are automatically enrolled on a 55p-per-day top-up scheme provided by Hermes.

GMB claimed that this top-up insurance does not necessarily guarantee legal cover and asked the Association of British Insurers to look into what it labelled a profit-boosting practice

The union said Hermes “dodges its responsibilities” by getting drivers to agree that vehicle insurance is required to deliver for the firm without explicitly stating the need for business insurance.

“Hermes is deliberately dodging its responsibility to make sure its drivers are properly insured for business purposes, and is in fact knowingly misleading hard working Hermes drivers into thinking they have proper cover,” said Mick Rix, GMB national officer. “GMB has serious concerns that Hermes is putting its drivers and the public at serious risk by cutting corners in the interests of profit.”

Hermes hit back at the allegations from the GMB union, claiming it had been in contact with the ABI and has “satisfied their enquires.”

However, a spokesman for the ABI said the matter was between Hermes and its drivers: “Where you are the registered keeper of a vehicle, you are legally responsible for its insurance. Whatever your employment status, if you use your own [vehicle] for work, your own personal car insurer always needs to know, even if the company you work with provides you with access to an additional insurance policy.”

Hermes added that every driver is required to have insurance for their vehicle and that its top-up scheme “satisfies legal requirements for motor insurance” and claimed it does not profit from the scheme.

“Hermes is committed to industry leading standards of health and safety and these processes have been put in place to ensure the legal protection of the self employed couriers that provide services to Hermes,” the statement added.