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Uber Ruling Drives at the Heart of the Gig Economy

by Published on

uber-app The recent ruling in favour of two taxi drivers could have far reaching consequences for the UK’s rapidly expanding “gig economy”.

The Employment Tribunal delivered its decision Friday 28th October setting out that Uber, a business whose success is largely due to customers use of their smartphone app and engagement of self employed drivers; should treat its drivers as employees and pay them the minimum wage and holiday pay.

The two drivers originally brought their case to the employment tribunal in July.  In this landmark decision Uber has been found to have acted unlawfully by treating the two drivers as self-employed and not providing them with basic employment rights such a minimum wage, pension contributions and holiday pay.

Maria Ludkin of the GMB Union, the body that brought the case to tribunal stated, “This is a monumental victory that will have a hugely positive impact on drivers also for thousands more in other industries where bogus self-employment is rife,”.

Uber who have stated they will appeal the decision are worth £48bn and its business model is based upon the engagement of self employed drivers connected via their strongly branded smartphone app.

Uber’s UK general manager Jo Bertram confirmed the respondents position in stating “While the decision of this preliminary hearing only affects two people, we will be appealing it.”

Robert Gibson, Head of Employment Law at Samuel Phillips provided his view on the case; “Uber drivers have won an ET to be classed as workers not self employed Holiday pay, rest breaks and minimum wage now apply.  I suspect if Uber lose their Appeal they’ll vary the business model going forward and maybe increase the fares.”

 

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