Coastguards win worker status after ‘historic’ legal battle

Coastguards have won worker status after a legal battle described as “historic“ by their union.

The GMB said the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that HM Coastguard officers are workers and a contract existed between the parties in circumstances where they had the right to be remunerated for their activities.

The hearing centred around a coastguard officer, Martin Groom, who campaigned to prove he was a worker and not a volunteer.

The GMB said the outcome of the case has potential implications for the voluntary sector as a whole as it rows back on previous case law finding volunteers not to be workers in every case.

GMB general secretary
GMB general secretary Gary Smith (GMB/PA)

“The public have the utmost respect for the brave men and women who keep our coasts safe.

“This ruling demands that their employers do the same.”

Martin Groom said: “This judgment brings a level of responsibility to HM coastguard to treat officer with a respect and dignity they haven’t been shown before.

“They now cannot terminate contracts on a whim, we are workers and deserve to be treated as such.

“I’d like to acknowledge the effort, time and input of GMB, without the union we would not have been able to fight the case.”

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