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“They work us like dogs”: Veezu driver speaks out about “unfair” treatment by company

A Veezu driver, who we have called Martin, describes his experience as an independent contractor for the taxi company, saying that Veezu works its drivers “like dogs” and how having workers’ rights would change things for the better.

Posted on 22 March 2024

I am in my early 60s and live in Leeds with my wife and one of our five daughters. I have been a taxi driver since 2012 and worked for Leeds-based Amber Cars before it was sold to Veezu in 2015.

Before the takeover, I enjoyed my work and felt that I was seen as an individual by the company, and I experienced a friendly, personal atmosphere at work. However, I have found my experience as a driver to be very different since the takeover, and the changes the company has made have not been for the better.

The personal and familiar atmosphere in my work has gone, and I don’t feel like I’m treated like an individual anymore; I now feel like just another digit in Veezu’s system.

Veezu classes me as an independent contractor, meaning I do not get workers’ rights. Other taxi companies such as Uber now class their drivers as workers and give them the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay, yet Veezu gives us no such benefits. Additionally, I face long hours, unrealistic targets, and financial penalties if I do not meet those targets.

I feel a huge amount of pressure to meet Veezu’s targets, and I know other Veezu drivers feel the same way. The fewer jobs we complete per week, the higher the commission Veezu will take from us.

If we complete fewer than 25 jobs (which can easily happen if we accept longer trips or have hospital appointments taking time out of our day), then Veezu will take 30% of our weekly earnings. Veezu will take 25% from us if we complete between 25-45 jobs per week, 17% for 46-75 jobs per week, and 11% if we are able to complete 76+ jobs per week, which is hard to achieve.

It is unfair that we are having to work extremely long shifts in order to meet these high targets and that we are penalised for not reaching high numbers, which discourages us from taking longer jobs, personal appointments, or even days off. To me, this is unfair and feels like a punishment.

Many of us are having to work for multiple taxi companies at once to earn a living, so it can be challenging to meet Veezu’s weekly targets.

Sometimes, I have to do 12 hour shifts five-to-seven days a week to hit Veezu’s highest target tier, or nine-to-10 hour shifts seven days a week to hit the second highest tier. That is a lot of hours; I get tired as I am not a young man anymore. Sometimes, you just need a break.

Before Amber Cars was taken over by Veezu, there was a cap on the commission the company could take, but now we have to push ourselves to the limits to avoid higher deductions.

It would be nice if Veezu would give something back to its drivers and treat us with respect rather than work us like dogs.

Being classed as a worker and gaining workers’ rights would change things for the better.

Through Leigh Day’s group action claim against Veezu, I am claiming for back pay for unpaid holiday, compensation if I have received less than the National Minimum Wage, and compensation for failure to provide written details of my employment.

I have had an easy time working with Leigh Day and I hope that the claim is successful so that myself and other drivers can have the workers’ rights we deserve. 

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