Bounds Taxis drivers classed as workers in tribunal

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) has won a regional legal battle against Bounds Taxis to extend worker rights to private hire drivers.

An employment tribunal has ruled that private hire drivers at Northampton-based Bounds Taxis are “workers without doubt” in a case brought by chair of ADCU Northampton Shafqat Shah and Samuel Adjei. The tribunal confirmed that the business must respect the right of drivers to earn at least the minimum wage, holiday pay and be protected from discrimination.

Judge Postle noted in his ruling that it was “clear from the factual basis that each driver had no choice”, that this was imposed upon them by the business to avoid any potential employer-employee obligations.

According to ADCU, while drivers were classed as self-employed, they were threatened with suspension if they did not wear a uniform and penalised if they missed or refused a job. The workforce had to pay £9,000 for what the business said was rent, with no guarantees about how much work they may get.

The judge found that the rent was collected weekly and if payments were late, drivers were fined £10 per day by management. He remarked in his ruling that the organisation’s evidence was “largely unhelpful, disingenuous and evasive on occasions.”

Shah explained that he is “so pleased and relieved” that Bounds drivers are finally recognised as workers.

“The era of brutal exploitation in the local minicab trade must come to an end but Northampton City Council, who both license Bounds and use its services, must no longer turn a blind eye to the abuse that has gone on for too long,” he said.

Yaseen Aslam, president of ADCU, added: “This case once again proves that the problem of worker abuse in the private hire sector is widespread and deeply rooted in an industry that employs more than 250,000 people nationwide. The ADCU will not hesitate to protect our members wherever they may be and there will be plenty more similar cases to come.”

Bounds has been contacted for comment.