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27 Feb 2023

Laura Parnaby, Independent (UK)

UK: Amazon argues for dismissal of lawsuit over delivery drivers’ compensation

"Amazon argues for dismissal of lawsuit brought by delivery drivers", 27 Feb 2023

Amazon is arguing for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by more than 1,200 delivery drivers which, if successful, would force it to pay hefty compensation.

Lawyers for the retail giant told the Central London Employment Tribunal on Monday that the case, brought by legal firm Leigh Day on behalf of the drivers, should be abandoned because it will not be successful.

More than 1,200 workers have united in the legal battle against Jeff Bezos’s multinational company, with 10 to 15 joining each week on average.

The drivers make deliveries on behalf of Amazon via Delivery Service Partners (DSPs) so they are classed as self-employed, meaning they do not benefit from employees’ rights like holiday pay and the national minimum wage.

Leigh Day says the drivers should be entitled to compensation for the years they have been working for Amazon partners without these rights – reportedly totalling more than £140 million.

Representing Amazon, Jason Galbraith-Marten KC told the tribunal the workers have “no reasonable prospect of success” because there is no “express contract” between them and Amazon ...

Representing the workers, Ben Cooper KC said striking out the case would be a “draconian” response by the judge.

In his written submission, Mr Cooper said: “It would only be in an exceptional case that the claim should be struck out, such as where the facts asserted by the claimant could be conclusively disproved.”

Leigh Day has compared the case to that of Uber drivers, who won the right to be classed as workers rather than independent contractors following a Supreme Court decision in 2021.

Mr Cooper said it is “of central importance” to recognise the Uber case was also concerned with “the implication of a contract in the context of a multi-party relationship where there was no express contract between the workers and the employee”.