Car auction drivers employed as gig workers by the UK’s largest used car marketplace are launching a dispute to gain recognition as employees.
Drivers who work for BCA Marketplace (formerly British Car Auctions), which incorporates webuyanycar.com and Cinch, are reportedly paid as little as £4 per hour.
Drivers are currently treated as self-employed, meaning they do not receive worker’s rights such as holiday pay and national minimum wage.
‘Taken advantage of’
Sam Bridge*, who worked as a driver for BCA during the third lockdown, said that while the job is ‘quite an enjoyable role,’ staff feel ‘taken advantage of’ by the firm.
Drivers deliver cars to their new owners, wearing BCA uniforms and on terms dictated by the company, but are not treated as employees.
He said: “The whole atmosphere between the drivers and the people sat in head office is fraught. It feels like their goal is to get as much work out of the drivers as possible for as little pay as they can.
“BCA is a huge multi-billion-pound company and has a very public face in the UK with its other companies webuyanycar.com and Cinch, yet they knowingly exploit vulnerable and marginalised people.”
Law firm Leigh Day is supporting a group of drivers to mount a legal challenge which would force the firm to recognise them as employees and provide worker’s rights.
The firm argues that, because of the way the company operates, couriers should be classed as workers, and that thousands could be eligible to claim back pay for unpaid holidays and shortfalls between money earned and the national minimum wage.
Gig economy companies ‘cannot continue to treat people the way they do’
This claim follows recent workers’ rights wins for Uber drivers in the Supreme Court and Addison Lee drivers in the Court of Appeal.
Similar legal action is being brought by couriers working for delivery company Stuart who are also represented by Leigh Day.
Gabriel Morrison, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “Companies operating in the gig economy cannot continue to treat people the way they do and get away with it. The recent victory for Uber drivers in the Supreme Court, closely followed by a win for Addison Lee drivers in the Court of Appeal, is proof of that.
“This is why Leigh Day believes that this claim is a strong and winnable one. As the Supreme Court in Uber pointed out, employment laws are designed to protect vulnerable workers from unfair treatment and low pay.
“Despite these laws, BCA have deprived their drivers of holiday pay and national minimum wage rights for a long time. We are hopeful that BCA will take notice of these recent judgments and realise that denying drivers worker status is not acceptable.”
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.