Strike Fund for Luton Addison Lee drivers

Addison Lee drivers operating at Luton airport are going on strike on Wednesday.

The drivers are striking over pay and unfair working conditions, which mean that they often earn far below the minimum wage.

A survey conducted in April by the drivers' union, the United Private Hire Drivers Branch of the IWGB union,  showed that the average hourly wage for Luton Addison Lee drivers is £4.72, despite drivers on average working 70 hour weeks.

Last year Addison Lee's owners, US Private Equity firm Carlyle Group, paid out 183 million US dollars in dividends to its two billionaire founders, but they say they can't afford to pay their drivers a decent wage.

Drivers have been protesting for several months  against an increase in the commission Addison Lee takes from each ride and a hike in the vehicle rental costs that were introduced last autumn, cutting their hourly pay to well below minimum wage. But the company has so far been unwilling to negotiate.    

Drivers voted with a majority of 93% to take strike action and on 1 May they will go on strike. This is the first time ever in the UK that Addison Lee drivers have decided to organise strike action. Read more about their campaign in The Guardian newspaper .

These drivers have tried everything they can to get Addison Lee to listen, but at every turn they have been ignored. Addison Lee CEO Andy Boland instructed his lawyers to send letters to the drivers letting them know he refuses to talk.

It is a sacrifice for the drivers not to go to work. They work on average 70 hour weeks and need all the pay they can get for them and their families to get by. But enough is enough and on Wednesday they will refuse to work up at the airport and will go out on strike.

Please respect their picket line and do not book taxis or private hire vehicles to or from Luton Airport from 05:00 on 1 May to 04:59 on 2 May.

And please give what you can to the strike fund. This money will help them and their families to bear the costs of striking and will mean they are strong enough to keep on fighting until they win a decent wage and dignity and respect at work.


Come down and support:

On Wednesday the drivers will hold a picket line at the boundary of the airport site at Luton Airport Roundabout into the evening. Come and join them to show support!

They will also demonstrate outside Luton Town Hall from 10am to 12 noon, calling on Luton Council to use their powers as a licensing authority to enforce the right to a minimum hourly wage.

Addison Lee has had the exclusive right to operate the rank at Luton Airport since 2012, when the local council awarded the company the contract following a £2 million bid.

38857086_1556555240571105_r.jpegimage credit: Matt Kenyon (Guardian illustrator) - link here 

The drivers' demands:

- A reduction in the commission Addison Lee takes from each ride from the current 35% to 20% - the rate London Addison Lee drivers are on.

- A reduction of the vehicle rental rate from the current £210 a week to the previous £190 a week, and the provision of 1 week holiday rental credit every 3 months.

- That the company cease ordering drivers to bring Addison Lee vehicles into London for servicing, repair and inspection on their own time and at their own expense.

- An end to workplace bullying.

- That Addison Lee honour its previous commitment to workers to provide suitable place for worship that is easily accessible to the minicab rank.

Check out UPHD on Facebook  to keep up to date with what is happening on the day.

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Charlie Macnamara 
Saint Margarets House Settlement, Greater London, United Kingdom
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