‘Huge Win’ for Workers as Tribunal Confirms Addison Lee Cab Drivers are Employees

An Employment Appeal Tribunal has rejected a cab firm’s appeal, confirming a ruling that Addison Lee’s drivers are employees, not self-employed contractors.

Trade Union, GMB, are hailing the case a ‘huge win’ for workers’ rights, while the major blow to the taxi company comes hot on the heels of similar rulings against Uber and delivery company Hermes.

Hermes have said they are “likely to appeal” after a court ruled in June that a group of their couriers should be treated as workers rather than independent contractors. They also won the right to reclaim any unlawful deductions from their wages.

Uber lost their appeal last year and were ordered to treat their drivers as workers, which unions said could cost around £18,000 per driver.

The latest ruling means Addison Lee drivers will be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.

Doors open for other employees

The EAT upheld an employment tribunal decision last year on behalf of three Addison Lee drivers.  The ruling, made on Wednesday 14th November 2018), rejected arguments by Addison Lee that their drivers are self-employed contractors running their own businesses.

While the decision by the EAT only affects the three individuals who brought the original claims, all of whom have now left the company, it paves the way for more claims. This includes 40 current and former Addison Lee employees who can now proceed with their pending cases.

Liana Wood, a solicitor acting for the drivers, said: “Nothing will automatically happen for the thousands of other drivers working for Addison Lee, they would have to bring the claims themselves. But what we hope is this ruling puts pressure on the firm to change its practices.”

One of the drivers who brought the claim, Michael Lange, echoed this in saying: “We now urge Addison Lee to do the decent thing and stop denying its workforce of over 4,000 drivers their rights.”

Further appeal?

However, this may not be the final step for Addison Lee, as they still have the right to appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal.

The company said in a statement: "We note the appeal verdict, which we will carefully review. Addison Lee is disappointed with the ruling as we enjoy a positive relationship with the vast majority of our 3,800 driver partners.

“In common with most of the industry, the majority are self-employed.”


Andrew Cullwick, spokesperson for First4Lawyers, says: “It is good to see that employment tribunals seemingly share a universal disapproval of the gig economy. The gig economy serves only to benefit the companies involved, and does nothing to help the staff who are not entitled to any help or benefits, despite the hard work they put in.

“We hope that Addison Lee do not appeal the ruling, but they instead put the right foot forward and help their workers, paving the way for other companies to do the same.”


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