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Uber to fight on after losing appeal over ‘drivers are workers’

Posted: 15th January 2019   In: Commercial Property, Individual Employment

Uber says it will continue its legal fight against the ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers.

It made the statement after the Court of Appeal upheld an Employment Tribunal decision in 2016 that drivers were entitled to workers’ rights including the minimum wage.

The tribunal at the original hearing heard that Uber paid drivers weekly, based on the fares charged for trips undertaken, less a service fee for the use of its booking app.

Uber argued that it was merely acting as an agent and that drivers entered into binding agreements with passengers to provide them with transportation services.

The Employment Tribunal ruled against Uber. It concluded that any driver who had the app switched on and was within the territory in which he was authorised to work, and was willing to accept assignments, was working for Uber under a "worker" contract.

It held that any supposed contract between driver and passenger was a pure fiction, bearing no relation to the real dealings and relationships between the parties.

Both the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal have upheld that decision.

Uber says it will now take its case to the Supreme Court, arguing that most drivers had been self-employed before its app existed.  A spokesperson said: “Drivers who use the Uber app make more than the London living wage and want to keep the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive.”

We shall keep clients informed of developments.

Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.