020 7650 1200

Car steering wheel

More than 800 workers join legal action against UK’s largest used vehicle marketplace over pay

Pressure is mounting on British Car Auctions (BCA) to pay their drivers holiday pay and at least national minimum wage with more than 800 gig economy workers joining the legal battle for workers’ rights against the company.

Posted on 16 May 2024

BCA, which is owned by Constellation Automotive Group that also operates webuyanycar.com and Cinch, uses 1,200 “self-employed” drivers who are responsible for inspecting and transporting cars to destinations across the UK, including to auction hubs owned by BCA.

BCA classes many of their drivers as self-employed independent contractors, which means they are not entitled to holiday pay and the national minimum wage. Leigh Day believes that, because of the level of control the company has over these drivers, including obligating them to work between three and five days a week, they should be classed as workers and given the rights this status affords.

In December 2023, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that BCA’s appeal of an earlier ruling by the Employment Tribunal that drivers should be classed as workers had “no reasonable grounds”.

In the original decision in May 2023, the Employment Tribunal found:

  • The written contract did not genuinely reflect the actual agreement between the parties;
  • 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.

Ian Williams has worked for BCA since August 2020 and says his working day can routinely last for 14 hours. He receives £20 per job with an additional £8 if an inspection is required. If the job is more than 60 miles away, he is paid 20p per additional mile. He does not receive holiday pay for any time he takes off and calculates that his pay regularly falls below the current national minimum wage of £11.44 an hour.

He said:

“The working conditions at BCA are absolute appalling. When we appraise or inspect a vehicle, we have no control over how much the customer is quoted but not all customers understand that and believe that I am personally responsible for the bill which puts me in the firing line for their frustrations.

“I live in Kent but we work across the country which means we can end up doing jobs as far as Glasgow, but we don’t get paid for the hours we are travelling. I usually work with a runner driver who takes me to and from jobs, as well as a couple of other drivers at the same time. Just a few weeks ago, I had to travel four hours from one drop off to my next collection and I was trapped in the runner car all that time earning nothing.

“From speaking to others that work for BCA, I know that my feelings about working conditions, pay and long hours are shared.”

Gabriel Morrison, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said:

“BCA has been unsuccessful in disputing these claims at every stage so far. At the Employment Tribunal, the judge was unequivocal in finding that our clients were workers for BCA, specifically noting that he “did not think this was an uncertain, marginal or borderline case”.

“Despite this, BCA continue to adopt their gig economy model in the face of this judgment, denying our clients the basic rights that they are entitled to. Leigh Day is confident that the courts will continue to agree with our position, and that of our 800 clients, that they are workers, and their pay should reflect this.”

Gabriel Morrison

Gabriel Morrison

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

Group Claim
BCA Driver Image (1)
200 already signed up

BCA drivers claim

Claim against: BCA

We are bringing claims on behalf of BCA trade plate drivers who believe they should be classed as workers, rather than independent contractors

News Article
BCA Driver Image (1)
BCA Employment Group claims

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.