Uber Drivers Are Entitled to Worker Benefits, a British Court Rules
Uber suffered a significant labor defeat in its biggest European market on Friday when the UK Supreme Court ruled that drivers should be classified as workers entitled to minimum pay and vacation time.
The case was closely watched because of its implications for the gig economy, with companies like Uber relying on a vast labor force of independent contractors to deliver car rides, food and clean homes.
Uber and other gig-economy companies say their model allows people to choose when to work, while critics say it has eroded job security and traditional company-employee relationships.
The court ruled that although Uber said it was only a technology platform that connected drivers with passengers, it behaved like an employer by setting rates, assigning rides, allowing drivers to follow certain routes and Drivers are required to use the rating system.
Supreme Court Lord George Leggt said, “Drivers in relation to Uber are in a state of subordination and dependency, as if they have no ability to improve their economic situation.” Holocaust. “Long-term work while meeting consistent measures of Uber’s performance could increase their earnings.”
Uber struggled to decide all the way to the country’s top court in an attempt by drivers in Britain to be classified as workers for the past five years. The ruling is expected on Friday, which initially affects only 25 drivers who bring the case, but is seen to set an example for others across the country.
Following the decision, an employment tribunal will decide how to reward drivers and influence other drivers moving forward.
Seeking to play the decision, Uber said it would pressurize the Employment Tribunal to limit its scope.
The company said the ruling should only affect a small number of drivers, and would not require it to reclassify all of its drivers as workers.
The company said it would argue to the tribunal that it had made several changes to its business model to provide greater protection for workers since 2016 when the case was first filed, such as if they were sick or injured. , Offering insurance to drivers, and allowing drivers to refuse to take some rides without penalty.
Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe Jamie Heywood said in a statement, “We are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver in the UK.
But some employment lawyers said the decision had broader consequences than Uber suggested, and it represented a pivotal moment in the broader labor debate about gig workers whose role in the economy has grown during the epidemic.
Shona Jolly, a human rights and employment law barrister with Cloist Chambers in London, said “the case has wider implications than the Uber case alone and can be seen as a right to employment for workers in the gig economy.”
Nigel McKay, a partner at Lee Day, a law firm representing drivers, said the decision would have a wider impact and Uber would have to start providing minimum pay and vacation time to drivers or face similar matters to others May be required. He added that none of the changes Uber has made since 2016 “will not impact the Supreme Court’s central findings that Uber drivers are workers.”
“No Uber driver can now claim to be involved in seeking compensation for Uber’s paid leave and to ensure that drivers are given at least the national minimum wage,” he said.
Uber drivers are currently paid per ride, with Uber charging 20 percent off each fare. Drivers have to pay for their car, insurance and taxi license.
Uber and other gig economy companies are fighting efforts to classify workers in other parts of the world as employees with mixed success.
In France, Uber Lost a decision Last year, the country’s top court had the right to consider a driver an employee. But in California, Uber and other companies funded Successful ballot measure In the November election to exempt him from a law that required him to employ drivers and pay health care, unemployment insurance and other benefits.
The UK, where Uber has around 60,000 drivers, is one of the company’s most important markets, but also a source of legal trouble. In London, where Uber cars are as ubiquitous as traditional black taxis, the city’s transport regulator has stepped up twice Cancel uber’s taxi license In recent years the company agreed to new security policies.
Mr McKay said he hoped the decision would support workers and attorneys receiving strong legal protections for gig workers in other countries.
“People around the world will follow this decision,” he said.