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‘New deal’ or raw deal: what does Addison Lee’s new offering really mean for drivers?

Addison Lee has recently introduced a ‘new deal’ for drivers, but what exactly does this mean? Here, Liana Wood, a solicitor in the employment team, explains.

Posted on 16 July 2021

Addison Lee has recently introduced a ‘new deal’ for drivers, but what exactly does this mean? Here, Liana Wood, a solicitor in the employment team, explains.

On the surface, Addison Lee’s recent announcement that they will start paying drivers holiday pay seems like a victory but, once you dive a little deeper, the so-called ‘new deal’ is not quite as generous as it seems.

In April the Court of Appeal ruled that Addison Lee is not permitted to appeal an Employment Tribunal’s decision that drivers are entitled to workers’ rights.

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This means that drivers are entitled to certain rights, including being paid at least the national minimum wage, protection against unlawful deductions from wages, paid holiday, and protection against unlawful discrimination.

Despite this judgment, Addison Lee appears to continue to classify its drivers as self-employed independent contractors rather than workers.

The Court of Appeal also upheld the Employment Tribunal’s decision that working time includes all the periods drivers spend logged on and available for work, including waiting time.

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Again, Addison Lee appears to have ignored this in the ‘new deal’. Although the private hire company has committed to paying drivers the Living Wage, this seems only to apply to periods that drivers are transporting, or on their way to pick up, passengers.

The deal also includes a shake-up of pricing structures which some drivers fear will result in their take home pay being less in the long term.

It also fails to address compensating drivers. The company has not committed to paying any back pay, which means joining Leigh Day’s claim is still the only way to receive compensation for unpaid holiday pay and failure to pay the national minimum wage.

So where does this leave drivers in their battle for worker’s rights? What we can say about the ‘new deal’ is that, in some ways, it seems to be a step in the right direction, but it falls short of what the courts say drivers are entitled to.

This may be a new deal but it’s still not a fair deal. Addison Lee needs to recognise that its drivers are workers who are entitled to workers’ rights and need to pay them fairly for all the hours worked. Until drivers get that, Leigh Day will continue to fight.

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