A long battle between Uber and the UK Supreme Court has finally comes to an end with Uber losing the battle. The court ruled over drivers’ rights- a decision that could have affected millions of people in UK in the gig economy.
In its ruling, UK’s highest court completely ruled its order against taxi hailing app company and concluded drivers in UK should fall under workers category, not dependent on third-party contractors. This means, drivers are entitled to receive minimum wage, basic employment protections and holiday pay.
Post ruling, the GMB union described it as “historic” paving the way for drivers claiming compensation running into thousands of pounds.
Uber currently has more than 60,000 drivers in Britain. In London, itself there are more than 45,000 and is the important market for the company.
However, the company in its press release stated that it will argue the ruling and will apply to small group of drivers.
According to lawyers who were keenly following this ruling said it will have future ramification for other app based firms using similar model for food delivery. Company like Deliveroo and taxi rival Addison Lee will also have to follow this court ruling in future.
Gig Economy- The Exploiting Method
Over the years, this gig economy has faced a lot of criticism from unions who argued it as exploitative, while businesses only highlight it as the flexibility advantage.
Uber, in its earlier three rounds of appeal have argued that drivers were contractors but not workers. However, the hearing was dismissed by seven justices, including the Lord Leggatt, and claimed original employment tribunal was ‘entitled to find that the claimant drivers were ‘workers.’
Yaseen Aslam, co-lead claimant and App Drivers & Couriers Union president said: “I am overjoyed and greatly relieved by this decision which will bring relief to so many workers in the gig economy that so desperately need it.”
James Farrar, the co-lead claimant and the union’s general secretary said, “This ruling will fundamentally re-order the gig economy and bring an end to rife exploitation of workers by means of algorithmic and contract trickery. Uber drivers are cruelly sold a false dream of endless flexibility and entrepreneurial freedom. The reality has been illegally low pay, dangerously long hours and intense digital surveillance.”
Mic Rix, GMB national officer said, “This has been a grueling four-year legal battle for our members – but it’s ended in a historic win. The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage.”
He further said, “Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.”