Uber drivers are entitled to worker benefits, a British court rules.
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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.

Uber has struggled for the last five years in Britain’s decision to be classified as workers by workers all the way to the country’s top court. Friday’s decision is initially expected to affect only 25 drivers who have brought the case, but is expected to set an example for others across the country. An employment tribunal will decide how to award drivers.

The court agreed with the drivers’ claim that although Uber maintains that it is only a technology platform that connects drivers with passengers, it behaves more like an employer by setting rates, assigning rides, to drivers Routes are required to follow, and discipline drivers using the rating system.

Supreme Court President Lord Robert Reid stated, “Drivers are in a state of subordination and dependence in relation to Uber, in which they have little or no ability to improve their economic status through professional or entrepreneurial skills.” Holocaust. “Long-term work while meeting consistent measures of Uber’s performance could increase their earnings.”

Uber said the decision would only affect a very small number of drivers, and would not require the company to reclassify all of its drivers as workers. The company said it had made several changes since 2016, when the case was first filed, Adding benefits such as offering insurance to drivers if they become ill or injured.

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.

Nigel McKay, a partner at Lee Day, a law firm representing drivers, said the decision had wide-ranging implications and Uber would have to start providing drivers with minimum pay and vacation time or a wave of similar cases from others. Will have to face it. He said he hoped the decision would provide a strong basis for legal protection for gig workers in other countries.

“People around the world will follow this decision,” he said.

Uber and other gig economy companies are fighting efforts to classify employees in other parts of the world as employees. In California, companies designed a successful voting measure to exempt them from a law in the November election that would require them to hire drivers and pay health care, unemployment insurance, and other benefits.

The UK has been one of Uber’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.



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