NHS medical couriers to go on strike on 23 and 24 May over pay cuts
4 days ago
1 May: Addison Lee drivers operating at Luton Airport will go on strike on 1 May for 24 hours demanding a living wage, in the first ever strike of Addison Lee drivers anywhere in the UK.
The drivers, who are part of the United Private Hire Drivers Branch (UPHD) of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), will be striking over pay and unfair working conditions.
A survey conducted in April by UPHD found that after an increase in the commission Addison Lee takes, the average hourly wage for drivers at Luton Airport working an average of 70 hours a week has fallen to £4.72.
Drivers have been protesting for several months against this increase and a hike in vehicle rental costs that were introduced last autumn, but the company has so far been unwilling to negotiate.
Consequently, in a recent strike ballot, over 90% of drivers working from Luton Airport voted in favour of industrial action.
On 1 May, the striking drivers will protest outside Luton Town Hall from 10am to 12 noon, calling on Luton Council to use their powers as a licensing authority to enforce their right to a minimum wage. They will then hold a picket line at the boundary of the airport site at Luton Airport Roundabout into the evening. The strike will be active for 24 hours from 05:00 on 1 May until 04:49 on 2 May.
IWGB UPHD branch secretary Yaseen Aslam said: “While we are not surprised that Addison Lee’s vulture capitalist owners would try and draw every last ounce of blood from Luton’s drivers, we are shocked that a Labour council is so happy to sit by and do nothing while drivers earn below the minimum wage. With this strike we want to send a message not only to Addison Lee, but also the council: Do your job as a regulator and stop letting these companies drive your citizens into abject poverty.”
Luton Addison Lee driver Imran Iqbal said: “On an average week I'm working 65 hours and taking home less than £350. So while I've been earning far below the minimum wage, Addison Lee's owners made tens of millions of dollars last year. We have tried talking to the company, we have tried protesting and now we are left with no other option but to strike. We owe it to our families and each other to keep on fighting until Addison Lee delivers a fair deal.”
Addison Lee has had the exclusive right to operate the rank at Luton Airport since 2012, when the local Labour council awarded the company the contract following a £2 million bid.
The company is owned by US Private Equity fund Carlyle, which last year paid its two billionaire founders USD 183 million in compensation and dividends.
You can support the drivers by donating to the strike fund here.
For more information:
Emiliano Mellino, press officer