Courier that had won high-profile employment rights case sacked, after management is alerted to the fact that he has been hired
IWGB will take legal action against Addison Lee
Addison Lee courier business boss admits company will lose its appeal of employment rights case brought by IWGB
05 December: Addison Lee sacked bicycle courier and IWGB member Andrew Boxer in his first day of work, after senior management was alerted to the fact that he had been hired, in what is a blatant case of blacklisting, a secret recording reveals.
The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) will be taking legal action against Addison Lee over trade union victimisation and blacklisting.
After being told on 6 November that he could starting working as a courier for the company from 9 November, Andrew Boxer was sacked during his induction on the 9th, when Addison Lee management was alerted. Boxer had already been given a radio, a call-sign and logins for the company’s courier app.
Earlier this year Andrew Boxer won a high-profile employment rights case against courier company Excel, which has since been taken over by CitySprint.
After Boxer is told that he cannot work for the company, the head of Addison Lee’s courier business, Kevin Valentine is recorded as saying:
“I’m not blacklisting you, I just think it’s insensitive that already we have Mr Gascoigne that is taking this company to court or taking us to the tribunal and to have someone else on our books that is also taking someone else to tribunal…
“…is there an ulterior motive that you want to work here? Do you want to report back to the union?”
Later on in the recording there is the following exchange:
Boxer: “Basically, you are just saying that because I have taken another company to court you don’t want me?”
Valentine: “We can’t have two… it costs the company a fortune. If we gotta fight you, we gotta fight Gascoigne, at the end of the day…”
Valentine is referring to IWGB member Chris Gascoigne, who won an employment rights case against Addison Lee earlier this year, which the company is appealing. The tribunal ruled that Gascoigne was a worker rather than an independent contractor, as the company bogusly claimed, and was subsequently entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.
Valentine then goes on to admit that the IWGB and Gascoigne will win the appeal.
Valentine: “What I am saying is be careful, please be careful where you are going. Because your union is going to win. But what happens afterwards, where that goes, where the HMRC goes, where everything else goes. All your taxation, all your freedom, everything else goes, be very careful.”
Boxer: “the point about being worker status…”
Valentine: “you can be worker status, we are preparing for it.”
Boxer: “….is that it allows that freedom”
Valentine: “Yes of course it does”
This exchange shows that Addison Lee’s appeal is unreasonable as the company knows it has no prospect of success. Valentine was the key witness for Addison Lee in the case that it is now appealing and the appeal is based largely on his evidence.
The IWGB will be informing the tribunal.
IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Addison Lee has once again shown the unlawful extremes to which it is prepared to go in order to deny basic rights to its low paid workers. Not only are they pursuing an appeal that even they think has no chance of success, but they are punishing a courier for having the courage to claim his unpaid holidays and minimum wage. For this Addison Lee will pay a heavy price.”
Andrew Boxer said: “I was there, I was happy to work and I ticked all the boxes, but because I once fought for my rights and won, I was denied a job. It was shocking and clearly an attack on my human rights. This brought me financial hardship, as I was out of work for another week, but also stress as I was left wondering were my next pay would come from”.
Dave Smith, blacklisted construction worker and secretary of the Blacklist Support Group, whose campaigning led to the introduction of Blacklisting Regulations 2010 said: “The treatment of Andrew Boxer is just one example of victimisation against workers prepared to stand up for the most basic entitlements without fear of not being able to find another job. Blacklisting in construction is a national scandal, but the practice is rife across the entire economy and increasingly among precarious workers. The absence of legal protection means the bosses get away with treating workers like disposable commodities rather than human beings. It’s time to change the law.”