The GMB trade union is to take legal action against three Amazon delivery companies arguing that they are operating “bogus self-employment” schemes. Amazon has hit back, saying that its delivery providers are contractually obliged to meet the minimum National Living Wage.
The companies involved are: Prospect Commercials Limited, Box Group Limited and Lloyd Link Logistics Limited who deliver parcels for Amazon.
The union argues that as the couriers were treated like employees in terms of their working hours, they should also receive the same treatment and rights as employees. “Amazon is a global company that makes billions. It’s absolutely galling that they refuse to afford the people who make that money for them even the most basic rights, pay and respect,” said GMB general secretary Tim Roache.
However, Amazon said that its selected delivery providers are contractually obliged to ensure that their drivers receive the National Living Wage with an expected pay of £12 per hour minimum, in addition to ensuring their drivers follow applicable laws and driving regulations and drive safely.
“The 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,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “Amazon is proud to offer a wide variety of work opportunities across Britain—full-time or part-time employment or be your own boss.”
Amazon added that just last year it created 5,000 new permanent jobs on top of thousands of opportunities for people to work independently with the choice and flexibility of being their own boss.
The GMB highlighted the case of two couriers who, it said, had been dismissed after raising concerns about working practices such as an excessive number of parcels being allocated per courier unrealistic delivery targets and working hours; further extension of working hours as drivers were expected to wait a significant time to load their vans; and drivers being underpaid or not being paid the amounts that they were contractually entitled.
Roache said: “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.”