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Amazon drivers launch legal action over lost earnings

AMAZON delivery drivers have launched legal action against the online retail giant over lost earnings and could be entitled to an average of £10,500 compensation for each year they have worked.

Currently, drivers making deliveries on behalf of Amazon through service partners are classified as self-employed and do not benefit from employees’ rights such as holiday pay, national minimum wage and an employment contract.

Law firm Leigh Day, representing the workers, believes that Amazon could owe at least 3,000 drivers a total of £140 million in compensation.

Drivers have said that they are given estimated travel times between deliveries through an app which they are obligated to meet.

They also described how they are not able to bring parcels back to the depot and must use extra fuel to redeliver at the end of the day.

This, combined with charges for van rental, fuel and insurance, can leave them with very little earnings.

Leigh Day is bringing similar claims against Uber, Addison Lee, delivery company Stuart and used vehicle marketplace BCA.

Delivery driver Bill Lightfoot, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said: “The work is horrendous because Amazon controls everything you do.

“There were times I was out on delivery, and I’d stop for a few minutes, and they’d ring up and ask why I was parked up.

“The money I was earning wasn’t anywhere close to covering my rent and bills. In one week, I worked 36 hours over four days and I should have earned £464 but they gave me £2.74.

“Effectively I was paying them to do their deliveries, rather than the other way around.”

Leigh Day solicitor Kate Robinson said: “Paying out compensation of £140m sounds like a large bill to foot, but for a company that turned a profit of £5.8bn in the first three months of 2021, it’s a drop in the ocean.

“For drivers on the other hand, earning at least national minimum wage, getting holiday pay and being under a proper employment contract could be life changing.

“It’s time for Amazon to stop putting profit above people and give delivery drivers the employment rights they deserve.”

Supporting the action, Philip Richardson, partner and head of employment law at Stephensons, called it another important milestone to improving employment terms for thousands of workers.

Amazon was approached for comment.

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