UBER – Landmark Employment Appeal Tribunal decision confirms that drivers are workers

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has delivered its decision in a landmark ruling that is likely to have serious ramifications for Uber and similar businesses in the wider Gig economy.

Two Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam originally issued proceedings in the employment tribunal with the support of the IWGB Trade Union, which ruled last October that they were not self-employed but in fact were workers.   The consequences of that decision were that they were entitled to the national minimum/living wage, statutory sick pay and holiday pay.   These legal rights had been denied them due to Uber’s belief that they were self-employed.

Uber subsequently appealed on the basis that it could deprive their drivers of the ‘personal flexibility that they value’.

This decision is likely to have major ramifications for Uber and other businesses in the Gig economy who are going to have to rethink their business models.

One of the drivers who brought the claim James Farrar has commented saying that ‘Uber cannot go on flouting UK law with impunity and depriving people of their minimum wage rights.  We have done everything we can, now it is time for the Mayor of London, Transport for London and the Transport Secretary to step up and use their leverage to defend worker rights rather than turn a blind eye to sweatshop conditions’.

The IWGB General Secretary, Jason Moyer – Lee said that ‘Today’s victory is further proof, as if any more was needed, that the law is clear and these companies are simply choosing to deprive workers of their rights.  The companies are making a mockery of supposed employment rights.  The Government needs to properly enforce the law and they need to do it now’.

Today’s decision also follows on from the decision from Transport from London who in September refused to renew Uber’s licence.

In the meantime we await further details of the judgment from the Employment Appeal Judge – Jennifer Eady QC.

If you have any concerns about worker or employment status then contact Steven Eckett – Head of Employment at Meaby&Co LLP

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