GMB, the trade union for ‘gig economy’ workers, has announced plans to bring legal action against three of Amazon’s delivery companies over what it calls “bogus” self-employment.
The action, announced today (4 June) at GMB’s 101st annual congress in Brighton, is on behalf of people working as couriers and delivering parcels for Prospect Commercials Limited, Box Group Limited and Lloyd Link Logistics Limited.
GMB says these workers are not being paid the minimum wage. In a statement, it said: “The drivers were employees, and the companies used the bogus self-employment model to wrongly deny them employment rights such as the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.”
GMB general secretary, Tim Roache, said: “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.”
A driver involved in the action told GMB he left his house at 6am, did not return until 11pm, and his wages were docked £1 per undelivered parcel. He claimed he was repeatedly told by Amazon that he would not receive payment if he did not complete a route and had sometimes driven when “half asleep at the wheel” in order to ensure he got paid.
An Amazon spokesperson said: “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.”
The case is the latest in a series of so-called gig economy legal challenges after the GMB won a landmark judgement against Uber in 2016. Deliveroo has also faced criticism over its designation of riders as ‘contractors’.