The GMB trade union is to take legal action against three Amazon delivery companies arguing that they are operating “bogus self-employment” schemes.
The companies involved are: Prospect Commercials Limited, Box Group Limited and Lloyd Link Logistics Limited who delivered parcels for e-commerce giant Amazon.
“Amazon is a global company that makes billions. It’s absolutely galling that they refuse to afford the people who make that money for them even the most basic rights, pay and respect,” said GMB general secretary Tim Roache.
The union argues that the as the couriers were treated like employees in terms of their working hours, they should also receive the same treatment and rights as employees.
Two workers claimed being dismissed due to raising concerns about working practices such as an excessive number of parcels being allocated per courier unrealistic delivery targets and working hours; further extension of working hours as drivers were expected to wait a significant time to load their vans; and drivers being underpaid or not being paid the amounts that they were contractually entitled.
These claims are also directed at Amazon as the company determined how the couriers worked.
The union said one driver recounted leaving the house at 6am and retuning at 11pm. Despite the long hours, he had £1 per undelivered parcel deducted from his wages. The driver was told that he would not be paid if he did not complete a route, resulting in him occasionally driving “half asleep at the wheel” to ensure he got his wages.
“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,” said Roache.
“Guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick pay, pension contributions are not privileges companies can dish out when they fancy. They are the legal right of all UK workers, and that’s what we’re asking the courts to rule on.”