EAT upholds decision that Addison Lee drivers are not self-employed

Addison Lee drivers

Taxi organisation Addison Lee has lost an appeal against an Employee Tribunal (ET) ruling, which stated its drivers are not self-employed contractors running their own businesses.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) confirmed that the true nature of the relationship is that the drivers work for the organisation, upholding the decision reached by the ET in September 2017 that three Addison Lee drivers were entitled to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

The judgment also confirmed that the unrealistic terms and conditions that the Addison Lee drivers had to sign did not reflect what was actually agreed, and upheld the ET’s finding that there was an overarching agreement between the organisation and the drivers.

According to the ruling, drivers are entitled to the national minimum wage from the time they logged on as ready to transport passengers until the time they logged off.

The original claims, brought by the GMB trade union and legally represented by Leigh Day, were heard in the London Central Employment Tribunal in July 2017. Since then, over 40 GMB member drivers have joined the group claim against Addison Lee.

Michael Lange, one of the drivers who brought the claims against Addison Lee, said: “We decided to bring this claim in 2016 because we wanted Addison Lee to treat drivers fairly. We are happy that the decision that we were workers for Addison Lee has been upheld. We now urge Addison Lee to do the decent thing and stop denying its workforce of over 4,000 drivers their rights.”

Liana Wood, solicitor at Leigh Day, who represents the drivers, said: “We are very pleased that the EAT has rejected Addison Lee’s appeal. It is clear that Addison Lee’s business model of providing a fleet of highly trained, regulated drivers is incompatible with their arguments that drivers are not workers who are entitled to workers’ fundamental rights.

“We hope that Addison Lee will accept this decision. Drivers shouldn’t have to continue to work very long hours, often in excess of 60 hours per week, to earn just enough to meet their basic living costs.”

A spokesperson for Addison Lee said: “We note the appeal verdict, which we will carefully review. Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we enjoy a positive relationship with the vast majority of our 3,800 driver partners. In common with most of the industry, the majority are self-employed, and with earnings at a record high.”