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Drivers working for UK’s largest used vehicle marketplace entitled to workers’ rights after Tribunal ruling

Hundreds of gig economy workers driving for BCA should be classed as workers and entitled to at least National Minimum Wage and holiday pay, according to an Employment Tribunal ruling.

Posted on 04 May 2023

BCA, part of a group of businesses which also own webuyanycar.com and Cinch, claimed their drivers are independent contractors and therefore not entitled to workers’ rights.

However, Employment Judge Meichen found that BCA exercise significant control over the way in which drivers work and ruled that they should be classed as workers and given the rights this status affords.

Key findings in the judgment included:

  • The written contract did not genuinely reflect the actual agreement between the parties;
  • Drivers were obliged to work either three or five days per week;
  • There was a risk of punishment if the drivers did not work when expected;
  • Pay was set by BCA and was non-negotiable;
  • The drivers were specifically recruited by BCA to work as an integral part of its operations. They were not carrying on business on their own account.

In his written judgment, EJ Meichen said:

“I did not think this was an uncertain, marginal or borderline case. In my view the key factual features of the relationship between the parties pointed one way – i.e. towards the claimants being limb (b) workers.”

Following the judgment, Leigh Day, which represents more than 500 drivers, will be writing to the Employment Tribunal regarding compensation owed to drivers in the form of back pay.

Gabriel Morrison, a solicitor at Leigh Day, said:

“This is a positive judgment, not just for BCA drivers, but for all gig economy workers who are being deprived of basic rights. It sends a clear message that employers cannot deny their workers’ the rights they are entitled to and get away with it.

“BCA drivers work tirelessly inspecting vehicles and transporting them across the country, including for WeBuyAnyCar and Cinch, often travelling hundreds of miles. They are regularly subjected to unfair treatment by BCA, with jobs being removed or the company refusing to reimburse travel expenses. Despite their hard work as an integral part of BCA’s business, the company has wrongly deprived the drivers of basic rights such as National Minimum Wage and holiday pay.

“It is important for BCA drivers to be aware that this judgment only applies to drivers that have brought claims. Leigh Day believes that there are still hundreds of drivers who are eligible to join the claim and receive the rights and compensation they deserve.”

Gabriel Morrison

Gabriel Morrison

Gabriel Morrison is a senior associate solicitor in the employment department.

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