LICENSED PRIVATE HIRE drivers working for Addison Lee have made their pay cut concerns public after the Camden-based company – part of the American Carlyle Group investment firm – leaked sensitive information onto social media sites.
The drivers, members of the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) union, say they have been working behind the scenes to persuade the management to listen to their views and in a letter to Addison Lee bosses, Andy Boland (CEO) and Colin Tenwick (chairman), said: “You will be acutely aware that Addison Lee has, without consultation, dropped fares in a race-to-the-bottom price war, but expect your drivers to bear all the costs for doing so.
The UPHD letter said:
Overnight, our members have seen their incomes plummet and their family finances destabilized as take home pay falls by as much as 50 per cent.
“Our members are now struggling to take home an average hourly net income well below the national minimum, let alone the London Living Wage.
“The drivers alone have borne the brunt of these savage cuts, while management have remained secure in their jobs and current salary levels.
“You must understand that in 2016, this is an unacceptable decision; to tilt the scales this far from workers and to benefit your Luxembourg-based parent company.
“We regret that you have not responded to our earlier correspondence requesting respectful dialogue to your recent changes of working practices at Addison Lee.
“We believe you have shown poor form to allow your driver liaison team to seek out and identify our members for, ‘one-to-one’ discussions when you refuse to meet them collectively.
“You will undoubtedly understand that most drivers will find these meetings intimidating, as indeed they were designed to be.”
PROPOSALS – Addison Lee UPHD drivers have submitted a list of proposals they claim the company must implement to, “achieve a London living wage”, including; account jobs paying a minimum of £6.50 for the first two miles, £30 per hour waiting time and insurance costs to be capped at £40 per week with an excess of £250 or allow drivers the option to make their own arrangements.
The letter, from the UPHD drivers to the management of Addison Lee, added: “Our members are amongst the most professional and loyal in the trade.
For Addison Lee to brutally slash their incomes, leak representative communications and then to seek to bully our members due to their affiliation, all adds up to a massive own goal for you and your management team.
“Drivers are the front line, so treating them with such disrespect can only result in poor morale, declining service standards and value destruction for the Carlyle Group.
“Cutting take home pay of hard working, low earning drivers by 50 per cent overnight is morally wrong and the world needs to know of the great injustice done here.”
ADDISON LEE COMMENT – A spokesman for Addison Lee said: “To ensure that its price proposition is competitive and attractive to customers, Addison Lee cut its peak prices by one third in December.
“We’ve also introduced a new bonus scheme during peak hours to incentivise our drivers and ensure they reap the rewards and are compensated appropriately.
We can assure all our clients that our drivers are fairly compensated for their time and service. Addison Lee drivers – like most in the industry – work on a self- employed basis and therefore decide their own hours.
“Drivers who work the equivalent of full time hours focusing on our busier periods earn more than the London living wage.
“Addison Lee prides itself on its close and collaborative relationship with its drivers. The company works hard to engage with them in a continuous process of dialogue where any complaint or challenge can be resolved fairly and amicably.”
MARK WILLIAMS – Well done gents. I am a London Black Cab driver and your struggles are also ours. I have always respected Addison Lee drivers, even with all the hype in previous years. Your drivers are knowledgable, have good driving skills and your vehicles are always immaculate. I wish you all the best in the future and know that passengers in London would be very upset of the injustice you are all having to go through. Be lucky.
CAB4NOW.COM – I recently left Addison Lee and have been priced out of an industry that has served me well for over 30 years. It was always a fall-back position which provided an opportunity to earn a reasonable income if you went the extra mile. Sadly that is no longer the case. Good luck in your endeavours.
CHRIS – Disgusting people run our company. I used to love working for Add Lee. Now is not the case anymore. I am leaving the house with a bitter taste in my mouth every time I am logging on, as I know that is impossible to bring a good income home to my newborn baby.
I was thinking one day, set the car in flames in front of their HQ. Maybe that way we’ll attract some attention from these SHARKS that took over us?
I am busting my ass off 90 hours a week to make £600, but this is not a life. You want so much from us; be on time, shaved, clean suit, clean car, knowledge, diploma courses and more.
And what are you giving back to us? Nothing with a big N. Long live the first owner of this company. Too bad you are not with us anymore. The race to the bottom has already started.
KAMEN – I am an Addison Lee driver and this letter completely expresses my feelings. I appreciate what my colleagues are doing for me and the rest of us and I hope that their voice can be heard.