The GMB has announced legal action against three Amazon UK courier services delivery on the charge of bogus self-employment. The legal action is being taken on behalf of five members currently or previously worked as couriers for Prospect Commercials Limited, Box Group Limited and Lloyd Link Logistics Limited.
The charges made include:
- the number of parcels allocated to drivers resulted in excessive hours and/or driving unsafely to meet targets;
- drivers were expected to wait a significant time to load their vans, extending their working hours;
- drivers were driving whilst tired, which posed a threat to their safety and other road users;
- drivers were being underpaid and not being paid amounts that they were contractually entitled to.
The day to day reality for many of our members who deliver packages for Amazon, is unrealistic targets, slogging their guts out only to have deductions made from their pay when those targets aren’t met and being told they’re self-employed without the freedom that affords. Companies like Amazon and their delivery companies can’t have it both ways – they can’t decide they want all of the benefits of having an employee, but refuse to give those employees the pay and rights they’re entitled to.
– Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary
A statement from the ecommerce giant in response to the law suits against three of its Amazon UK courier services has been robust:
Our delivery providers are contractually obligated to ensure drivers they engage receive the National Living Wage and are expected to pay a minimum of £12 per hour, follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely. Allegations to the contrary do not represent the great work done by around 100 small businesses generating thousands of work opportunities for delivery drivers across the UK.
– Amazon (to Techcrunch)
Amazon, as it grows to be truly gargantuan and all pervasive, is increasingly going to attract this sort of attention. But it does look like in this case that Amazon has the right policies and it’s the practices of the courier firms which is dubious.