In the latest blow to gig economy firms, taxi company Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling that its’ staff are entitled to workers’ rights.
Last year a tribunal ruled that two of Uber’s drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, were not self-employed and should be classed as workers entitled to the minimum wage, paid breaks and holiday pay.
Uber appealed the decision, saying its drivers are not entitled to employment rights because they work for themselves.
The tribunal upheld the original ruling that Uber drivers work under a “workers” contract and are therefore entitled to employment rights.
Speaking after the ruling, James Farrar told the BBC, “Just huge relief. I really hope it will stick this time and that Uber will obey the ruling of the court.
“I’d like Uber to sit down and work out how as quickly as possible that every driver who is working for Uber get the rights they are entitled to.”
Unite London cab ranks committee secretary Peter Rose also welcomed the decision.
He said, “This will bring Uber further into regulatory control, which is a good thing for all private hire and Hackney carriage drivers.
“For too long Uber, through its use of the gig economy model, has attempted to deregulate the industry by the back door at the expense of drivers.”
A ruling on Deliveroo’s use of self-employment is currently being considered, while cases involving Hermes and DX will be heard next year.
Uber – which has around 40,000 registered drivers in London and is fighting to retain its licence after Transport for London found it was “not a fit and proper” operator – said it will launch a second appeal against the tribunal ruling.
Unite London Cab section chair Jim Kelly said, “It just shows you how cynical Uber can be – claiming that it has the best interests of its drivers at heart, while trying to deny them workers’ rights. Uber should accept the tribunal’s decision and give its workers, and they are workers, their full rights.
“This was the right decision, as were the rulings against bogus self-employment at other gig economy firms. Too many people, especially young people, are being exploited in the gig economy.
“I hope these cases serve as a wake-up call to other gig economy companies to change their ways and accept their staff are employees,” he added.