Two Northampton minicab drivers have launched a legal case against a town taxi firm claiming they should be entitled to holiday pay and pension contributions...claims the firm denies.
The men are being supported in their claim against taxi firm Bounds by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which has taken successful legal action against Uber and Addison Lee.
The men are arguing they are entitled to a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay, pension contributions, and collective bargaining rights, among others.
A spokesman for Bounds says all their drivers are self-employed, they choose to work for the company and have the freedom to work elsewhere, without a notice period. Drivers also do not pay any fees when they are on holiday, the spokesman added.
The IWGB says the drivers are being denied basic employment rights by classifying them as independent contractors, rather than workers or employees.
Bounds driver and one of the two claimants, Shafqat Shah, said: "I have worked for Bounds on and off for eight years and all that time I have been denied basic rights.
"It's the biggest minicab company in the East of England and keeps on growing by buying rivals, but claims it can't give its drivers paid holidays or pension contributions.
"We owe it to our families and each other to keep on fighting.”
The union will argue that the level of control Bounds has over its drivers means that they are entitled to the same rights as workers and employees.
But a spokesman for Bounds said there were systems in place to achieve a high level of service.
"We, like every firm in the country, charge a fixed fee and supply the driver bookings. We do not stipulate what time they start or finish, the agreement allows them to come and go as they wish and there are no restrictions on the number of hours they can work or the number of bookings they can receive.
"We must stress that each and every driver is self-employed and has the choice to move to another company any time they wish.
"The majority stay with us as we have, being the largest fleet, the ability to provide a far quicker service than most and consequently have secured a much larger percentage of the work within the town.
"It, therefore, follows that they have the potential to increase their earnings."
The union said that a manager also conducts random checks on the road to ensure the drivers are complying with company policy, including the dress code policy.
The Bounds spokesman added: "Safety is a major consumer factor, and with that in mind, we try to ensure that the vehicles our customers travel in meet the regulations set down by the Licensing Department of the Borough Council. "