THREE PRIVATE hire drivers who had their contracts terminated by Addison Lee following a GMB protest in Berkeley Square in May 2016 will have their unfair dismissal case heard at an Employment Tribunal on 4th July.
The dismissals, which took place within hours of the demonstration that was held in protest against an increase in commission charges and changes to Addison Lee’s terms and conditions for drivers, lead to the GMB lodging a number of claims with arbitration body ACAS. These included; unfair dismissal, detriment on grounds related to trade union activity and failure to pay the national minimum wage.
In the wake of the London private hire firm’s action, the GMB engaged solicitors Leigh Day to act on behalf of the three drivers and head of employment Chris Benson said:
These three men were trained by Addison Lee, they were required to work on standard terms which were dictated by Addison Lee and had to work to detailed practices, policies and procedures imposed by Addison Lee. They cannot then be sacked without notice or reason.
“Employers cannot be allowed to have all the financial benefits of employees and none of the responsibilities to these people’s livelihoods.
“The attempt to reframe normal employment as part of the gig economy is a serious threat to the financial security of thousands of hard working people and will end up costing the taxpayer huge sums whilst companies take all the profit.”
After the announcement of the tribunal date, Steve Garelick, secretary of the GMB Professional Drivers Branch, said:
GMB cannot wait to get stuck in. Addison Lee tried to kick this into the long grass by suggesting a hearing date in November but GMB welcome that this very important issue will be decided sooner rather than later.
Any attempt to classify the drivers as self employed will simply not wash with the Employment Tribunal. Everything points to the drivers being employees and no doubt will result in yet another decision exposing bogus self employment practices by employers in the private hire industry.
GMB will not allow Addison Lee to go unpunished for dismissing drivers whose only crime was to legitimately bring their plight to the attention of the public and the parent company of Addison Lee, The Carlyle Group. Just prior to the dismissals GMB had raised a number of concerns with Addison Lee including increased commission, fixed rate insurance and reduced fares.
Related article: GMB prepare Addison Lee legal action