Drivers’ rights warning as Bolt plans Scottish launch
Bolt is heading to Scotland (pic: Bolt)
Ride-hailing company Bolt is to begin operating in Scotland and has been urged to make a commitment to protecting workers’ rights.
Job adverts are appearing seeking operations specialists for new offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Estonia-based firm operates in 40 countries and employs more than 1.5m drivers worldwide. In the UK, it currently operates in Birmingham, Leicester, London, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, and Wolverhampton.
The chairman of the Glasgow branch of App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU), Eddie Grice, has responded to its Scottish expansion by urging the firm to respect pay and safety of drivers following disputes elsewhere.
He said: “The news that Bolt is coming to Scotland is somewhat concerning to us.
“We will not tolerate any nonsense. Bolt must comply with all applicable legislation and licensing conditions from day one.”
His comments follow the launch of legal challenges by ADCU members against Bolt in London where drivers are taking the company to employment tribunals to seek recognition as having ‘worker status’.
In June drivers for Bolt staged a 24-hour strike against the firm, saying that it had failed to respect their rights in line with the Supreme Court’s historic Uber judgement in February.
This ruled that drivers had a right to National Minimum Wage and holiday entitlement amongst other worker benefits.
At the time, a Bolt spokesman said the firm had a different operating model to Uber.
“We maintain regular dialogue with drivers regarding many topics, through surveys, newsletters, social platforms and in-person forums. They tell us they like Bolt because it charges less commission – as low as 10% for drivers with electric vehicles – resulting in higher average earnings when on a trip.
“The majority of private hire drivers who enter the industry do so for the flexible hours and freedom to choose when to drive so we don’t penalise drivers for declining trips or for accepting trips from other companies.
“We believe it’s likely that drivers will continue to be offered more choice, benefits and freedoms across operators.
“We will continue to proactively seek feedback – positive and negative – from all relevant parties in this regard, and carry on working with other businesses and the Government on this topic.”