Amazon hit with drivers' rights lawsuit

UK law firm Leigh Day has launched a case against Amazon, alleging the company it is not giving workers employed via third parties the rights they are entitled to.

Amazon classified drivers employed via "delivery service partners" as self-employed, meaning they do not get rights such as holiday pay and the minimum wage.

Leigh Day is arguing that the drivers’ work schedules are dictated by Amazon and argued they should have more rights as a result.

The firm said the BigTech giant could owe £140 million in compensation to 3,000 delivery drivers, resulting in compensation of £10,500 for each driver on average if successful.

Two drivers have joined the suit so far and the Leigh Day is looking for more to join.

The employment status of gig economy drivers has been a contentious legal topic over the last year; in February, a Supreme Court tribunal ruling decided that Uber drivers should be classified as workers and given minimum wage and paid holidays.

Leigh Day was also responsible for the Uber case, and said there are similarities to the Amazon case, claiming workers' output was ‘misrepresented’ in both cases.

Despite various regulatory controversies, Amazon’s dominance in the UK e-commerce market shows no signs of abating; the BigTech accounts for more than a quarter of all UK online spend, according to an August report from Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

"We're hugely proud of the drivers who work with our partners across the country, getting our customers what they want, when they want, wherever they are,” said an Amazon spokesperson. "We are committed to ensuring these drivers are fairly compensated by the delivery companies they work with and are treated with respect, and this is reflected by the positive feedback we hear from drivers every day."

“Amazon is short-changing drivers making deliveries on their behalf,” said Kate Robinson, a solicitor at Leigh Day. “This is disgraceful behaviour from a company that makes billions of pounds a year.”

“Drivers delivering for Amazon have to work set shifts and book time off, yet Amazon claim they are self-employed.”

She added: “For drivers, earning at least national minimum wage, getting holiday pay and being under a proper employment contract could be life changing.”

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