Future of Work

Uber drivers have won the right to be classed as workers rather than self-employed.

The ruling by a London employment tribunal means drivers for the ride-hailing app will be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the National Minimum Wage.

The GMB union described the decision as a “monumental victory” for some 30,000 drivers in England and Wales.

Uber said it would appeal against the ruling that it had acted unlawfully. The San Francisco-based company had argued that its drivers were not employees but self-employed contractors.

The landmark ruling could affect tens of thousands of people who work for companies with similar business models such as Deliveroo.

Maria Ludkin, legal director at the GMB, which brought the case, said: “This is a monumental victory that will have a hugely positive impact on drivers… and for thousands more in other industries where bogus self-employment is rife.”

Image copyrightPA

Jo Bertram, Uber’s UK manager, said: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want. While the decision of this preliminary hearing only affects two people, we will be appealing it.”

Two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, argued that their actions were controlled by Uber, which meant they were employed by the firm – but that they did not have basic workers’ rights.

Mr Farrar said his net earnings in August 2015 after expenses were £5.03 an hour. Mr Aslam no longer drives for Uber.

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