Around 300 taxi drivers working at Gatwick Cars Ltd are being threatened with `fire and rehire’ and forced onto a vastly inferior zero hours contract, which will dramatically cut their pay.
Gatwick Cars is demanding its drivers sign a zero hours contract and will grab an eye-watering 40 per cent of the drivers’ fares.
The company has informed the workforce that they have to sign the contracts by this Friday (July 1) or not receive any further work. The drivers will be staging a protest against the company’s plans this Friday from 6am in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport.
Many of the workers are currently part of an employment tribunal case which will determine their employment status. However, the company is pre-empting this and insisting that its rake off of the drivers’ fares should increase from 23 per cent to 40 per cent in order to cover the drivers’ holiday pay, pension contributions and also to increase its own commission.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Gatwick Cars’ conduct is shameful. In a fire and rehire-style attack, it is combining a zero hours contract with a threat to sign or be sacked in under 48 hours. This behaviour brings shame to the owners of Gatwick who must step in to prevent this exploitation taking hold at the airport.
“Unite will not allow this attack on our members to go unchallenged and will ensure that all possible measures are utilised to ensure justice for our taxi driver members.”
Gatwick Cars Ltd operate the taxis at the airport on a contract tendered by Gatwick Airports Limited (GAL). The drivers have repeatedly asked GAL to intervene but the company has refused to do so and the drivers believe that GAL is trying to wash its hands of the problem.
Gatwick Cars are also making it more expensive for the taxis to operate, it is changing the policy which currently allows drivers to operate a vehicle up to seven years old, it now plans to reduce that timeframe to five years, making it for more expensive to operate a vehicle.
Unite regional officer Andrew Stanley-Ward added, “The planned demonstration is just the beginning of the campaign to ensure a fair deal for our taxi driver members, this will inevitably lead to disruption at the airport.
“If Gatwick Cars won’t behave like a decent company than Gatwick Airport should make it do the right thing or strip it of the contract. Gatwick Airport tenders this contract and it has a moral duty to ensure that its taxi drivers are not exploited.”
By Barckley Sumner