GMB takes legal action on behalf of bogus self-employed lorry drivers
by Felicity Collier
A UNION is taking legal action on behalf of workers at online giant Amazon over bogus selfemployment within the socalled gig economy, it was announced yesterday.
The case is being brought by GMB against the logistics firm UK Express, which is based in Birmingham and employs drivers across the country.
GMB says that the drivers should be classed as workers, rather than as self-employed, and argues that their full employment rights such as the minimum wage and holiday pay are not being upheld.
The case follows GMB’s landmark victory last October for Uber drivers.
The London employment tribunal ruled that Uber had acted unlawfully by not providing its drivers with basic workers’ rights.
GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “This is another case in a long line of legal battles around bogus self-employment.
“Employers might not like paying the minimum wage or giving their workers the protections they’re entitled to in the workplace, but I’m afraid it’s not optional.
“UK Express deliver for some of the world’s largest companies, in this case Amazon.
“The drivers delivering for Amazon, like Uber drivers and delivery drivers for DX, cannot be classed as anything other than employed when you look at the law.
“We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we adhere to and which we don’t like the look of.
“This is a much wider issue than individual companies … this is about employment in 21st-century Britain.”
Workers are being “mislabelled” as self-employed so that bosses can deny them rights, said Nigel Mackay of the law firm Leigh Day — which is taking the case to an employment tribunal.
He added: “Drivers are also being fined if they can’t work, even when they have good reason. We believe this is unlawful.”
GMB’s win for Uber staff last year lead to 30,000 drivers across England and Wales being granted employment rights.
At the time, the union labelled the “gig economy” as “old fashioned exploitation under newfangled jargon.”
Unscrupulous employers that avoid employment rights, sick pay and paying a minimum wage also cost the government millions in lost tax revenue, GMB said.