XPO Logistics is to pay a group of drivers US$30 million after it wrongly classified them as contractor companies rather than employees.
A California federal court has approved settlements by the firm after workers brought class actions. This type of misclassification is widely used by XPO but is illegal under Californian law.
“It is a triumph for these drivers,” said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). “It shows workers united can fight back against XPO’s brutal underhand cost-cutting tactics. It gives hope to XPO workers all round the world that they too can get a fair deal if they stand together.”
The settlement will be paid to each of the 784 current and former California port drivers as part of their class-action lawsuit victory. These allege that they were willfully misclassified, left unreimbursed for truck costs and received less than minimum wage. A California federal judge granted preliminary approval of two settlements, one between XPO Cartage and its drivers; the other between XPO Port Services and its drivers.
Union network tackles XPO
Such is the scale of XPO’s exploitation of workers that the Teamsters in the US and other affiliates of the ITF created the XPO Global Union Network. Its reports expose the scale of XPO’s systematic mistreatment of employees around the world. It continues to fight for workers’ basic rights at XPO and its new spin-off GXO.
“We commend these brave XPO drivers who fought hard to demand XPO pays them the money they are rightfully owed,” said James P Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and ITF Road Transport Section Chair. “This is more than a victory for XPO drivers in California — it’s huge for workers around the world to see that by standing together, working people can take on enormous companies and win.”
XPO has a shameful record on worker rights. In the US, XPO warehouse workers have been subject to pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. In Europe, some drivers have been forced to live out of their trucks for months on end. Unethical contractual arrangements are widely used by XPO to reduce their costs at the expense of employee rights. These also tend to have devastating consequences for worker safety. The list goes on.
“All around the world, managers in companies like XPO are scratching their heads wondering why they have driver shortages,” said Cotton. “The answer is obvious — it isn’t a shortage of drivers, rather a shortage of decent work. It’s clear from our perspective – give workers a fair deal, treat them like human beings, and suddenly, the pressures on your businesses disappear.”