GMB to launch legal action against Bolt over lack of worker pensions

GMB Union has announced it will launch legal action against the platform-based private hire firm Bolt on behalf of drivers over their classification as self-employed workers.

The union has accused the firm of using a “bogus self-employment model”, which means its drivers do not get auto-enrolled into a pension scheme.

GMB said that proceedings will be lodged with the Employment Tribunal in London.

This announcement comes in the wake of other ride-sharing apps, including Uber, accepting their drivers as workers and providing them with more rights, such as sick pay and pension rights.

Uber’s extension of workers’ rights came after a court ruling last year in which it agreed to pay its drivers at least the National Living Wage and bring them within the scope of auto-enrolment, provided they work enough hours to meet the minimum earnings trigger of £10,000 a year.

Uber has previously announced plans for a pension scheme for flexible workers in the private hire vehicle industry and urged other operators. including Bolt. to work with them to create a cross-industry pension scheme.

GMB national officer, Mick Rix, commented: “Bolt needs to wake up and accept its responsibility to its drivers. Other companies have done the right thing, why can’t Bolt?

“Guaranteed hours, sick pay, pension contributions – these aren’t privileges to be bestowed when companies feel like it, they are the legal right of all UK workers.

“GMB will fight bogus self-employment and exploitative practices whenever and wherever we can.”

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) chief executive, Charles Counsell, has previously urged companies in the gig economy to proactively begin work on enrolling their employees into pension schemes, rather than dealing with the issue on a “case-by-case basis”.

Uber is not the only company who have recently extended their workers’ rights, as earlier this year Hermes UK, which has rebranded to Evri, announced that it will auto-enrol all of its 20,000 ‘self-employed plus’ (SE+) workers into a pension by the end of the year.

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