Uber loses appeal in landmark UK case over its drivers' employment rights

Uber to hear ruling on appeal over employment rights

Taxi firm Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling on the employment rights of drivers.

Uber then appealed against the shock move last month, which allowed its drivers to continue operating in the capital.

But Uber challenged the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, saying it could deprive drivers of the "personal flexibility they value".

The case was bought before the employment tribunal by former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, who claimed that Uber's model of saturating a market to provide lower costs and faster services on its app had a direct effect on the well-being of its drivers. Eady concluded that the structures are not the same and that Uber must pay its British drivers a "national living wage".

"It's not only morally wrong to have drivers denied their workers' rights, but with many feeling they must work long hours, with few breaks, just to get by, it also presents a serious risk to public safety", said Labour's London Assembly economy spokesperson, Fiona Twycross.

While appeals from the EAT are normally heard in the Court of Appeal, there is a procedure in place for cases of particular legal significance to be "fast-tracked" to the Supreme Court.

Nick Elwell-Sutton, partner at Clyde & Co, said today's ruling should not be taken as the last word, given that the issue is "likely to reach the Supreme Court".

Jenning said it's conceivable that some Uber drivers could end up being workers and some could end up being self-employed.

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"It is astonishing that the employment tribunal granted the two drivers worker status".

In that case, the Court of Appeal found that a plumber, described in his contract as a "self-employed operative", was entitled to worker rights.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Uber should throw in the towel and accept today's judgment. No company, however big or well connected, is above the law.

"The growing number of employment tribunals linked to the gig economy shows there is a fundamental lack of clarity over what it means to work on your own behalf".

'Sham self-employment exploits people and scams the taxman'.

The GMB union said a ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) was a "landmark victory" for workers' rights, especially in the gig economy.

"In the meantime there may be pressure on the Government to focus on the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practice's recommendation of creating "dependent contractors" who are eligible for worker's rights".

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