UK Express settles claims with drivers over employment-status dispute
Logistics company UK Express has settled claims with drivers who have been disputing their employment status.
As previously reported, the GMB union launched legal action against UK Express back in March 2017, arguing that it was wrongly classifying drivers as “self-employed”, when they should be classed as employees and receive employee benefits.
In a notice posted on its Facebook page yesterday (16 January), GMB’s West Midlands Branch said that UK Express had “settled claims at 100% rather than risk court hearing and further claims”.
The GMB notice said: “GMB argued that the way that the drivers, who solely delivered for Amazon, worked and the terms of their contracts demonstrate that they should actually be classed as employees.
“As employees, they and all drivers on similar contracts would be legally entitled to 5.6 weeks paid annual leave per year, the National Minimum Wage at £7.20 per hour for over 25s, increasing to £7.50 from April 2017, paid rest breaks and protection from unfair dismissal, discrimination and for whistleblowing.
“It appears that UKXD bowed to the inevitable and in what may be an effort to stop further claims by other UKXD drivers if the claim reached the Employment Tribunal, the company offered a 100% settlement to the drivers in order to stop their claims.
“This has resulted in some GMB members receiving almost £20,000 in back pay.”
The UK Express case was the latest in a series of legal actions that the GMB has brought over what the union describes as “bogus self-employment and gig economy exploitation”.
GMB claimed that the drivers delivering for Amazon are employees, on the grounds that:
· Amazon impose control on drivers relating to routes, sanction them for ‘poor performance’ and require them to pay for a van hired from the company
· the drivers were required to be available for 15 days per month, with no right of substitution
· drivers are prohibited from working for a competitor.
Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director commented:
“Some employers seem to think they can avoid paying the minimum wage, or giving their workers the protection.
“However, as Amazon and UK Express have now realised, this is not optional – it’s the law.
“The drivers delivering for Amazon – like Uber drivers and delivery drivers for DX – are clearly employees and it is gratifying that the company are shelling out 100% of the amounts claimed.”