Programmatic Lunch

Uber loses court appeal over the employment rights of its drivers

Tyrone Stewart

UberUber has been hit with yet another blow in the UK, its biggest market outside of the US, as it has lost appeal against a ruling that its drivers are employees.

Last year, in a case brought by Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, the UK Employment Tribunal decided that Uber’s drivers are staff and, as such, should be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum.

Uber still believe its drivers should be considered self-employed, as they are free to work as little or as much as they choose and has claimed that its app only works as a middle man between these self-employed drivers and their customers. Due to this continued belief, Uber will appeal the latest ruling also, as it can still appeal the decision in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

“Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed,” said Tom Elvidge, acting UK general manager at Uber. “The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal.”

He continued: “The tribunal relies on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80 per cent of trips sent to them when logged into the app. As drivers who use Uber know, this has never been the case in the UK.”

The ruling has implications for the entire UK so-called gig economy, with services like Deliveroo falling very much in the same bracket as Uber.

Uber is currently also in the midst of appealing Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to revoke its license in September for not being a ‘fit and proper’ operator. As the appeal is ongoing, the company can continue, and is continuing, to operate in London.

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