DRIVERS at a private hire company won a landmark legal victory yesterday when an employment tribunal ruled that they must be classed as workers rather than self-employed.
In a case brought by the GMB union against mini-cab firm Addison Lee, the tribunal ruled in favour of the company’s 3,800 drivers, stating that they were employed workers and therefore entitled to statutory rights — including the minimum wage, paid holidays and union membership.
It was the second victory against bogus self-employment won by the GMB, which won a similar ruling in respect of Uber drivers in October last year, although the company is appealing against the decision.
GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “Once again,the courts have agreed with our argument regarding bogus self-employment.
“This ruling means yet another logistics firm has been forced to obey the law and honour responsibilities to employees.”
Solicitor Liana Wood, representing the drivers for law firm Leigh Day, said: “We are delighted that the employment tribunal has found in favour of our clients.
“This judgement acknowledges the central contribution that Addison Lee’s drivers have made to the success of the company by confirming that its drivers are not self-employed but that they work for Addison Lee as part of Addison Lee’s business.
“Addison Lee advertises itself as a premium driving service and seeks to ensure that its drivers meet the high standard required for that premium service.
“However, Addison Lee drivers very often work very long hours, in excess of 60 hours a week, in order to just earn enough to cover their basic living costs.”
Addison Lee expressed “disappointment” at the ruling.
A spokesman said: “We note the tribunal’s verdict, which we will carefully review.”