Employee Engagement

Legal action is being taken against three delivery firms used by Amazon in another challenge to what has been called “bogus” self-employment.

The GMB union wants its drivers to be given guaranteed hours and the minimum wage as well as sick and holiday pay. The union said drivers should be classed as full-time employees rather than self-employed workers.

Amazon said its delivery providers were “contractually obligated” to pay drivers minimum wage.

The union said that drivers for the three firms were paid per parcel delivered and faced issues that fully employed workers did not, despite performing very similar duties.

Those issues include lack of job security, responsibility for insurance and maintenance of their vehicles and no right to sick pay, holiday pay or overtime.

Steve Garelick, a regional organiser for the GMB, said: “They are expected to deliver regardless of what their run is. They’re not paid any more for going over what anyone would consider reasonable hours to deliver – and they get penalised if they don’t deliver.”

The union said it was only bringing cases against delivery firms where GMB members had asked it to do so.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said many of the union’s members who deliver packages for Amazon faced unrealistic targets, pay deductions if those targets were not met and “being told they’re self-employed without the freedom that affords”.

“Companies like Amazon and their delivery companies can’t have it both ways – they can’t decide they want all of the benefits of having an employee, but refuse to give those employees the pay and rights they’re entitled to,” he said.

Amazon said its delivery firms were expected to pay drivers a minimum of £12 an hour, “follow all applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely”.

“Allegations to the contrary do not represent the great work done by around 100 small businesses generating thousands of work opportunities for delivery drivers across the UK,” it added.

BBC investigations over the last two years have found that drivers for Amazon delivery agencies regularly worked “illegal” hours and received less than the minimum wage.

Drivers told the BBC that they were not paid on time and required to break the speed limit in order to stay on schedule, and that they were not even allowed the time for toilet breaks.

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