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Addison Lee loses drivers' rights battle

Addison Lee

Addison Lee has been refused permission to appeal an Employment Tribunal’s decision that drivers are entitled to workers’ rights.

The Court of Appeal ruling was made after the recent Supreme Court judgment stating that Uber drivers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, are entitled to receive the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

Uber has since confirmed it will pay its drivers a guaranteed minimum wage, offer holiday pay and provide pensions following the court ruling in February. 

Addison Lee’s appeal to the Court of Appeal had been put on hold in anticipation of the Supreme Court judgment.

An Employment Tribunal in 2017 had already found that a group of Addison Lee drivers were workers. This was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2018

Leigh Day, which represents more than 100 Addison Lee drivers, believes thousands of drivers could be entitled to an average of £10,000 in compensation.

The private hire company will only be legally required to compensate those who have brought a claim.

Liana Wood, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “This is a huge decision in favour of Addison Lee drivers and yet another blow to big firms operating in the gig economy.

“Leigh Day has been fighting for workers’ rights on behalf of our clients for several years, so I’m delighted that the end is now finally in sight for these hard-working drivers who deserve to be treated fairly.”

Wood hopes that other companies with similar business models to Uber and Addison Lee will change their employment terms and conditions.

As well as individual claimants, Leigh Day is also acting for some GMB members who drive for Addison Lee.

Steve Garelick, GMB regional organiser, said: “This judgment is not based just on law but good common sense and sends a further message to those who would continue to exploit workers through a bogus self-employment model.”

Addison Lee says it has changed its working practices and the way it engages with drivers to ensure it maintains the flexibility its drivers demand.

In the past 12 months, under new management, Addison Lee says it has also invested heavily to support drivers’ livelihoods and to keep them and passengers safe during the pandemic.

It added that it would continue to evolve its business model to ensure it continues to deliver for its drivers and customers alike.

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