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November 14, 2016

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Driver Safety

‘Vast legal implications’ for Amazon delivery drivers allegations

In the wake of the claims that delivery drivers at Amazon are working ‘illegal hours’ for less than minimum wage, an employment law specialist has warned of the vast legal implications.

An undercover reporter for the BBC unveiled allegations of illegal working practices and highlighted potential health and safety risk for drivers.

Drivers for agencies contracted by the online retailer told an undercover reporter for the BBC that they were expected to deliver up to 200 parcels a day.

Some said they broke speed limits in order to stay on schedule and others said there was no time allowed for comfort breaks.

Emma Hamnett, a Partner with national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, said that this could be the tip of the iceberg.

“The legal implications of this story are wide and potentially very expensive for employers, not least in the run up to Christmas with shopping ordered online.

“If this report is correct this is a nightmare waiting to happen – not just for Amazon but for all courier and delivery companies who engage so-called self-employed drivers and who may not be paying at the correct level and may have staff working illegal hours.”

Amazon said it was committed to ensuring drivers drive safely and legally, and are “fairly compensated”.

A BBC reporter got a job with AHC services, one of the agencies which supplies drivers to the firm’s delivery wing Amazon Logistics in the south of England.

The reporter worked for a fortnight as a driver in Bristol and said:

  • He worked more than the daily limit of 11 hours a day;
  • He was told by a supervisor that he “didn’t have to worry about a seatbelt” because “the police won’t stop” a delivery driver; and
  • Was paid an equivalent of £2.59 in his first week after deductions for optional van hire and insurance.

Last month, a London Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers had the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed.

Emma said: “This potentially has the makings of ‘Uber 2,’ so savvy employers will undertake an urgent review of those ‘self-employed’ workers and assess whether they really are self-employed or entitled to minimum workers’ rights such as to receive the national minimum wage, holiday pay and rest breaks.

“With Black Friday in a couple of weeks, the situation could become very bleak for courier and delivery services if their workers raise similar challenges, not to mention the upcoming Christmas deliveries. HMRC can also investigate wage issues at any time requiring back payment of unpaid wages and there may also be criminal implications.

Emma’s advice to concerned employers is that they should immediately address the situation and consider realistically and honestly whether their current business model is fit for purpose as this line of cases is only going one way; namely in favour of finding worker status with increased employment rights.

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Where are the Amazon drones? - Yazaroo Web Design
7 years ago

[…] buy almost anything you could ever want or need from Amazon. So where are the Amazon drones? With Amazon delivery drivers in the news so much at the moment with claims of worker exploitation it would, i suggest, be time […]

7 years ago

i work as one of these drivers i am payed £103 a day 14p amile for petrol and a bonus maybe more often than not i wont see this bonus because the agency (delivery service provider) pockets it all or wont pay it out for weeks on end twice this week i have left my home at 7:45 am and not returned home till 10:30pm i would leave the depot at 8:45 an deliver my last parcel at 8:50pm amazon say to the media its 9hr routes an on the road for no more than 10hours but if we got… Read more »