Private hire taxi firms to face legal action in employment status claims

company cars

Taxi organisations A2B, Blacklane and Green Tomato Cars are to face legal action over the employment status of its drivers and their entitlement to employment rights, such as the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

The legal action is being brought by¬†The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) trade union for drivers who are members of its¬†United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch.

The legal cases will argue that drivers across all three organisations should be classified as workers rather than independent, self-employed contractors. This would then entitle the drivers to employment rights, such as receiving the national minimum wage and holiday pay, having rest breaks and having the right not to work more than 48 hours a week.

The specific case against London-based firm Green Tomato deals with employment status, unlawful deduction of wages, holiday pay and breach of the working time regulations. IWGB has stated that the claimant worked on both a pay per trip basis as well as fixed shifts to earn hourly pay. The driver in this instance worked 12 hour shifts without breaks over a five-day period, and was also paid less than the typical daily pay for working a five-day contract.

The claim against Glasgow-based Blacklane is for employment status, unlawful deduction of wages and holiday pay. According to IWGB, Blacklane deducted £242 from one of its drivers for two separate incidents, which included a two-week unpaid suspension after the organisation alleged that the driver in question had Uber promotions and taxi plate on his car. IWGB  has reported that all private hire vehicles are required to have a taxi plate by Glasgow City Council. The driver, while working for Blacklane, was also required to wear an organisational tie and pin at all times.

The legal action against Birmingham organisation A2B concerns employment status, and being paid the national minimum wage and holiday pay. According to IWGB, the driver in this case was regularly paid below the national minimum wage, was required to wear a uniform and also have six A2B signs on the car. The trade union stated that the obligation to wear a uniform and use an organisation-labelled car would, therefore, prevent the driver from working for other private hire organisations.

Dr Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary at IWGB, said: “The wide scale depravation of employment rights is not unique to Uber, it is rampant across the private hire sector in the UK. With these actions, the IWGB is stepping up its campaign to have private hire drivers recognised as the workers they are and enjoying the rights to which they are legally entitled.‚ÄĚ

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Blacklane declined to comment. A2B and Green Tomato are unavailable for comment at time of publication.