Amazon hit with legal action from gig economy workers

Amazon hit with legal action from gig economy workers

Tens of thousands of gig economy workers could be set to benefit from a new group claim launched against Amazon, an employment expert has warned.

The delivery giant has been hit by legal action, overpay conditions and working rights for its army of self-employed drivers.

Up to 3,000 Amazon drivers could be entitled to an extra £10,500 each year for the distribution of goods they provide for the world’s leading marketplace.

The case revolves around an argument that drivers employed via third party 'delivery service partners' are classed as self-employed which means they do not benefit from rights such as holiday pay and the minimum wage.

If they are successful, the online giant could be forced to cough up hundreds of millions of pounds to thousands of drivers.

Ella Bond, employment solicitor, says 'This new group action which Amazon is facing could have pivotal and far-reaching implications right across the gig economy. If it is ruled that Amazon drivers are entitled to this extra £10,500 then other large transport groups utilising self-employed drivers could also face claims. It is possible tens of thousands of gig economy workers could be set to benefit and that hundreds of millions of pounds will be at stake.'

'Covid-19 has seen a huge drive towards people ordering online and, as a result, more and more people are now working as delivery drivers across the UK.'

'I would encourage all companies to urgently check their self-employed contractors are operating autonomously and without being unduly managed or controlled. Where there is any doubt, professional advice should be sought. If the arrangement on the ground does not reflect the status assigned to the individual(s), then either changes will need to be made to how the relationship operates in practice or the contract, together with all associated rights and obligations, should be amended to reflect the reality.  This will help businesses to ensure that they do not find themselves on the receiving end of expensive litigation.'

The tech giant, which saw sales soar by 50% and up to £20.3 billion during the Covid-19 pandemic is currently the third largest profitable company worldwide.

The case comes just months after a similar court action saw UBER lose in its fight to stop drivers being classed as self-employed.

This article was repurposed and published in the Daily Express on October 22, 2021, page 7

About our expert

Ella Bond

Ella Bond

Senior Employment Law Solicitor
Ella joined Harper James as a Senior Solicitor in January 2020, having previously worked at top 50 West Midlands law firm Shakespeares (now Shakespeare Martineau). Having qualified in 2007, she is highly experienced in the field of Employment Law, working with a vast range of clients from start-ups to large national and multi-national companies.

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