Thousands of taxi drivers for Addison Lee could be in line for compensation of £ 10,000 each after the Court of Appeal found they were entitled to vacation pay and the national minimum wage.
The company claimed to be independent entrepreneurs who are not entitled to basic rights.
Lawyers said the result dealt “another big blow to large companies operating in the odd-job economy” following a landmark Supreme Court ruling in February that ruled Uber drivers were workers.
Addison Lee’s drivers say after factoring in their costs, they received less than the legal minimum. Current and former drivers will now be able to apply for annual leave and underpayment of the national minimum wage.
Addison Lee had appealed a 2017 labor court ruling in favor of the drivers in 2017, and another ruling in 2018. The appeals court said on Thursday that the company could no longer appeal.
Addison Lee’s driver David Bollard, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said that in his four years with the company, the treatment of staff has deteriorated.
“There is a revolving door for drivers, which means they don’t really care about you as individuals because you are easily replaced,” he said.
Liana Wood, lawyer with Leigh Day’s employment team, said: “We hope other companies with business models similar to Uber and Addison Lee recognize that they cannot continue to deny people basic rights such as paid holidays and the national minimum wage. “
The latest workers’ rights case comes after large investors avoided Deliveroo’s recent stock market listing, in part over concerns over the classification of the company’s runners as independent contractors.
The delivery company saw 30 percent erase its value in the opening week of trading and has yet to recover.
Steve Garelick, a regional GMB union organizer, said Addison Lee had “ample opportunity” to do the right thing for the drivers and negotiate a deal with the drivers.
“Instead, they chose to pay lawyers to try to make the impossible stand out.
“This judgment is not based on law alone, but on common sense and sends an additional message to those who continue to exploit workers through a false model of self-employment.
Leigh Day is also representing customers of delivery company Stuart in a similar labor rights claim.
In May 2018, a Stuart courier won his case claiming he was a worker at the Labor Court, this decision having been confirmed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in December 2019.
A court date in the Court of Appeal has been set for October after another appeal from Stuart.
A spokesperson for Addison Lee said the case was “historic” and involved three drivers who stopped working for the company.
“Since then, we have changed our working practices and the way we interact with drivers to ensure we maintain the flexibility our drivers demand while continuing to provide the best income opportunities for top professional drivers.
“Over the past 12 months, under new leadership, Addison Lee has invested heavily to support the livelihoods of our drivers and to keep them and our passengers safe during the pandemic.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-22 16:45:26