The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) have announced its begun legal action against private hire operator Bolt following strike and protest action yesterday focusing on worker rights.
In what was seen as a well attended gig economy worker protest, private hire drivers yesterday assembled at Bolt's West London offices to demand their worker rights. The workers, organised by ADCU, are demanding that Bolt also respect the Supreme Court ruling against Uber which found in favour of drivers.
Specifically the union is demanding that Bolt:
immediately respect the worker status rights of their drivers to earn at least the minimum wage plus holiday pay for all working time
raise fares to £2 per mile
end unfair summary dismissals without right of appeal
immediately respect the digital rights of drivers including the right to access their personal data and for algorithmic management transparency.
The union announced the start of the mass legal action against Bolt soon after the strike action yesterday. Drivers have been invited to register with union lawyers to join the action with immediate effect.
Abdurzak Hadi, Chair of ADCU London, said after the strike:
“Today our members demonstrated their resolve to end Bolt's abuse of workers by launching strike action and strategic litigation on the same day. Rather than realising that change is inevitable in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, Bolt has instead doubled down on its rotten and exploitative business model.
“The Government has failed to protect vulnerable workers so now we are taking matters into our own hands and we will fight this to the end.”
Before yesterday's strike action Bolt defended their position by stating that their model is different to rival apps and does not apply to the Uber Supreme Court ruling. A Bolt spokesperson told TaxiPoint: "Bolt wasn’t operating in London in 2016 (the time frame for the Supreme Court ruling) and our model is different.
"We maintain regular dialogue with drivers regarding many topics, through surveys, newsletters, social platforms and in-person forums. They tell us they like Bolt because it charges less commission - as low as 10% for drivers with electric vehicles - resulting in higher average earnings when on a trip.
"The majority of private hire drivers who enter the industry do so for the flexible hours and freedom to choose when to drive so we don’t penalise drivers for declining trips or for accepting trips from other companies.
"We believe it’s likely that drivers will continue to be offered more choice, benefits and freedoms across operators. We will continue to proactively seek feedback - positive and negative - from all relevant parties in this regard, and carry on working with other businesses and the Government on this topic."