Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling which states all drivers are workers and not self-employed.
Back in 2016, drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam had a tribunal rule in their favor, saying Uber staff are to be given holiday pay, paid rest breaks and minimum wage.
Uber contested this and made an appeal, but the Court of Appeal has upheld the rule – only one of three judges backed the company’s case.
Mr Farrar, chairman of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union, was pleased with the result, saying it was one step closer to “ending Uber’s abuse of workers, made possible by tactics of contract trickery, psychological manipulation and old-fashioned bullying.”
However, he also voiced his concern for the worker status being delayed yet again with Uber now seeking to appeal to the Supreme Court. Seen as an attempt to hold out whilst pursuing a stock market flotation for around $120bn, Mr Farrar said “It’s time for Uber to come clean with all its stakeholders and abide by the decision of the courts.”
Uber are hopeful of another appeal being successful, given one of the judges said their case was in line with a well-recognized business model in the private hire car industry. A spokesperson for Uber highlighted that “almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed” – and going as far to say that being labelled a ‘worker’ would restrict the freedom and flexibility they’re used to.
However, law firm Gowling WLG are confident the Supreme Court will uphold the decision, pointing to the fact that when a brand tries to control the employee’s activities – the same people who bring that brand to the public – then they’re not working within a self-employed setting.
The uncertainty surrounding Uber is likely to have some people worried – after all, Uber are the biggest company in the private hire industry right now. But it’s important to remember that private hire is part and parcel of the London transport industry; companies can gain popularity and lose favor at a moment’s notice and the industry will carry on regardless.
PCO car rental is an option if you’re unsure about a long-term investment – a cheaper, second-hand vehicle will let you learn the ropes of the private hire business and if you decide to explore it further, we have a range of quality cars and deals to sign up to.