GMB union will today launch legal action against three Amazon delivery companies over the terms and conditions of some of its drivers.
The latest gig economy legal action being taken by GMB is on behalf of members working for Prospect Commercials, Box Group and Lloyd Link Logistics.
GMB says the drivers were employees and the companies used the bogus self-employment model to wrongly deny them employment rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
The drivers were required to attend scheduled shifts that were controlled by Amazon, meaning they did not have the flexibility that is integral to being self-employed. In this situation, the couriers were treated like employees in terms of their working hours, GMB Union contends they should be treated as employees in terms of their rights too.
It will be the latest in a series of gig economy legal cases brought by the union since it won a land mark judgement against Uber in 2016 and others, including Deliveroo, Addison Lee and CityLink are involved in ongoing legal action.
Tim Roache, general secretary of GMB, said: “Amazon is a global company that makes billions.
“Companies like Amazon and their delivery companies can’t have it both ways – they can’t decide they want all of the benefits of having an employee, but refuse to give those employees the pay and rights they are entitled to.
“Guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions are not privileges companies can dish out when they fancy.
“They are the legal right of all UK workers, and that’s what we’re asking the courts to rule on.”
Two of the GMB members are also claiming that they were dismissed because of whistleblowing, saying that their roles were terminated because they raised concerns about working practices, for example that:
- The number of parcels allocated to drivers resulted in excessive hours and/or driving unsafely to meet targets;
- Drivers were expected to wait a significant time to load their vans, extending their working hours;
- Drivers were driving whilst tired, which posed a threat to their safety and other road users; and
- Drivers were being underpaid and not being paid amounts that they were contractually entitled to.
These whistleblowing claims are also being brought directly against Amazon on the basis that it was Amazon who determined the way that the drivers should work.
A spokesman for Amazon said: “Our delivery providers are contractually obliged to ensure drivers they engage receive the national living wage and are expected to pay a minimum of £12 per hour, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely.
“Allegations to the contrary do not represent the great work done by around 100 small businesses generating thousands of work opportunities for delivery drivers across the UK.
“Amazon is proud to offer a wide variety of work opportunities across Britain — full-time or part-time employment,or be your own boss.
“Last year we created 5,000 new permanent jobs on top of thousands of opportunities for people to work independently with the choice and flexibility of being their own boss — either through Amazon Logistics, Amazon Flex, or Amazon Marketplace.”