New report from Citizens Advice Bristol finds delivery drivers working under ‘bogus’ self-employment

Citizens Advice Bristol has produced a new report after discovering employment agencies are contracting drivers to work exclusively for a national parcel delivery company under questionable self-employment contracts. The report highlights an increase in current and former Bristol delivery drivers being forced to work dangerously long hours, paying extortionate van hire and insurance fees and often suffer unpaid wages. More worryingly, other local Citizens Advice offices across England have been seeing similar cases.

The home delivery sector has grown hugely in recent years due to online shopping becoming the favoured means of purchase for consumers. Many delivery companies now only contract with drivers on a self-employed basis such that 9 out of 10 new jobs created between March and May this year were classified as self-employed.

“Becoming self-employed can be an attractive opportunity; it offers greater freedoms such as the ability to choose your own hours, workload and negotiate your own wages,’’ explained Ben Crawford, Citizens Advice Researcher. ‘‘But for some, these apparent ‘freedoms’ are nothing more than illusions.’’

Far from being free to choose their own hours, drivers told us they frequently worked for over 14 hours a day, trying to deliver unmanageable quotas and often for less money than the National Living Wage after extortionate van hire and insurance fees. During peak times, drivers spoke of over 150 deliveries a day, leaving no time for breaks. In addition, drivers are demanded to be available from 7.30am, 5 days a week every week, unless two weeks’ notice is given. This is contrary to their supposed flexible self-employment status.

Read our full report – None of the freedom, all of the risk: Delivery drivers and bogus self employment in Bristol