Taxi organisation Addison Lee is to face legal action over the status of its drivers and their entitlement to workers’ rights, such as holiday pay and the national minimum wage.
The legal action is being brought by the GMB trade union on behalf of three Addison Lee drivers, who are being represented by law firm Leigh Day.
The claim argues that drivers at Addison Lee should be classified as workers rather than self-employed. This would entitle the drivers to employment rights, such as holiday pay and the national minimum wage.
The hearing begins today at the Central London employment tribunal (Tuesday 4 July 2017).
Maria Ludkin, legal director at GMB, said: “Addison Lee is shirking its responsibilities through bogus self-employment. Addison Lee drivers work for Addison Lee and are entitled to the same basic rights and benefits as workers in other industries.”
Liana Wood, employment lawyer at Leigh Day, added: “Addison Lee currently denies that its drivers are entitled to the most basic of workers’ rights. They argue that drivers do not work for Addison Lee but instead work for themselves and are self-employed. On behalf of our clients we will claim that Addison Lee is wrongly classifying its drivers as self-employed with the result that drivers are denied the rights and protections that they were lawfully intended them to have, including the right to not have their contracts terminated because they are members of a trade union.
“We will argue that Addison Lee exerts significant control over its drivers in order to provide a highly trained and vetted driving service to the public. If Addison Lee wishes to operate in this way, and to reap the substantial benefits, then it must acknowledge its responsibilities towards those drivers as workers.
“This claim is vital for the thousands of Addison Lee drivers who work in England and Wales and has implications even wider than that. We are seeing a creeping erosion of employment rights as [organisations] misclassify their workers as self-employed so as to avoid paying them holiday pay and the national minimum wage.”
Addison Lee had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.