A law firm, representing Amazon drivers, report that these workers could be set to gain millions of pounds in compensation due to legalities around employee rights.
Law firm Leigh Day is launching a no win-no fee action against Amazon after declaring that drivers should be entitled to employee rights such as the minimum wage, sick pay and holiday pay.
At present, delivery drivers for Amazon, hired through third-party deliver companies, are classified as self-employed.
However, the law firm supporting the workers maintains that, due to the way Amazon dictates drivers’ work and how they fit into the business, Amazon drivers should be entitled to employee rights.
When asked about their experience, drivers claimed they were given estimated travel times between deliveries via an app which they were expected to meet.
In addition to this, the drivers reported that they are not allowed to bring parcels back to the depot which means they must use extra fuel to redeliver at the end of the day.
Kate Robinson, a Leigh Day employment solicitor, explained how these terms meant the workers’ employment status should be re-classified:
It appears that Amazon is short-changing drivers making deliveries on their behalf.
Drivers delivering for Amazon have to work set shifts and book time off, yet Amazon claim they are self-employed.
For drivers on the other hand, earning at least National Minimum Wage, getting holiday pay and being under a proper employment contract could be life-changing,
However, Amazon refuted this in a statement:
We’re hugely proud of the drivers who work with our partners across the country, getting our customers what they want, when they want, wherever they are.
We are committed to ensuring these drivers are fairly compensated by the delivery companies they work with and are treated with respect, and this is reflected by the positive feedback we hear from drivers every day.
Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, stated that this is “another case that exposes the confusing nature of employment law”:
After the landmark Uber ruling, momentum is building and we’re witnessing more gig economy workers staking a claim for employment rights.
It’s yet another case that exposes the confusing nature of employment law, which potentially leaves millions of workers somewhere between self-employment and employment. On the flipside, it can leave businesses engaging these workers unsure of their obligations.
Despite being classed as self-employed, contractual terms often mean gig economy workers have little control over how they provide their services. As a result, their true employment status edges closer to employment rather than self-employment. We’ll have to wait and see if this is the case here.
It is thought that around 3,000 drivers could benefit if this claim succeeds, with each driver being given an average of £10,500 in compensation for each year they have worked for the company.