DX faces legal action over ‘gig economy’

DX Group is facing legal action from the GMB union on behalf of its courier members amidst claims that the delivery group is taking advantage of the ‘gig economy’ by forcing workers into bogus self-employment.

The GMB aims to ensure that the couriers working for DX receive holiday pay and the national living wage as well as health & safety, discipline and grievance rights.

The union successfully brought an employment tribunal claim against Uber in October that found that the ride hailing company was wrong to label its drivers as self-employed.

The GMB was represented by law firm Leigh Day against Uber and is again acting on the GMB’s behalf against DX. 23 current and former drivers for the company are represented in the action. None of them work for DX Exchange which is used by legal practices around the UK.

The issues raised by the drivers have been submitted to ACAS early conciliation and the firm said that if a satisfactory outcome was not reached, the case would be submitted to the employment tribunal.

According to Leigh Day, the drivers claim that they are workers, and not self-employed, meaning they are entitled to holiday pay and the national minimum wage.

The firm said drivers were required to be interviewed by a manager at DX, provide details of their employment history and experience and undergo training before beginning their role as a driver.

They are paid at a rate determined by DX, which is not usually negotiable, and their route is determined by DX. Drivers are obliged to accept whatever volume of parcels is given to them for delivery. They cannot refuse to deliver items in their manifest. In addition, they will face financial penalties if they do not deliver parcels that cannot be located or are inadvertently left at the depot.

Leigh Day partner Michael Newman said: “DX claim that their drivers are self-employed, however, their rate of pay and their routes are set by DX and they are required to abide by policies set by DX, including in relation to how parcels are delivered and the equipment used.

“Additionally, those lots of drivers are only paid for each parcel they deliver, and are not paid for the time that they spend at the depot preparing their deliveries, loading parcels and planning their routes.

“As we have seen in the case against Uber, some employers are falsely classifying those that work for them as self-employed, and therefore not providing them with basic workers’ rights, despite exerting tight controls over how they carry out their work.”

GMB legal director Maria Ludkin added: “This is another company trying to duck its obligations and responsibilities by making its workforce ‘self-employed’. These are effectively working full-time for one company, DX, without many of the basic employment rights enjoyed by employed workers.”

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