A claim that drivers at taxi giant Addison Lee are workers, not self-employed, has been upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in another “huge win” for workers’ rights.
The GMB said courts had agreed “once again” that the firm’s drivers are legally entitled to rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
The union welcomed an EAT decision upholding a finding by an Employment Tribunal last year on behalf of Addison Lee drivers.
The decision will affect thousands of Addison Lee drivers and follows similar “ground-breaking” rulings involving taxi hailing firm Uber and delivery company Hermes, said the GMB.
Sue Harris, the union’s legal director, said: “This is another huge win for GMB over bogus self-employment.
“Once again, the courts have agreed Addison Lee drivers are legally entitled to workers’ rights such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay rights.
“Other employers should take note – GMB will not stop pursuing these exploitative companies on behalf of our members.”
Liana Wood, solicitor at Leigh Day who represented the drivers on behalf of the GMB, said: “We are very pleased that the EAT has rejected Addison Lee’s appeal.
“It is clear that Addison Lee’s business model of providing a fleet of highly trained, regulated drivers is incompatible with their arguments that drivers are not workers who are entitled to workers’ fundamental rights.
“We hope that Addison Lee will accept this decision; drivers shouldn’t have to continue to work very long hours, often in excess of 60 hours per week, to earn just enough to meet their basic living costs.”
Michaell Lange, one of the drivers who brought claims against Addison Lee, said: “We decided to bring this claim in 2016 because we wanted Addison Lee to treat drivers fairly. We are happy that the decision that we were workers for Addison Lee has been upheld.
“We now urge Addison Lee to do the decent thing and stop denying its workforce of over 4,000 drivers their rights.”
Addison Lee said in a statement: “We note the appeal verdict, which we will carefully review. Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we enjoy a positive relationship with the vast majority of our 3,800 driver partners.
“In common with most of the industry, the majority are self-employed, and with earnings at a record high, over 60% said they were likely or very likely to recommend working for Addison Lee in our most recent driver satisfaction survey.”
Law Society of England and Wales president Christina Blacklaws said: “The law has not kept pace with changes in how people are employed and the rapid growth of the gig economy.
“Employees and contractors are treated differently when it comes to employment rights and tax responsibilities. This means organisations are incentivised to find loopholes to their benefit, which can be detrimental to the employees.
“The Government has committed to consultations following Matthew Taylor’s report last year, and we urge them to act quickly – to protect workers and provide much needed certainty in the law.”