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Uber loses appeal in United Kingdom employment rights case
13 November 2017, 02:17 | Terri Saunders
Uber was appealing a TfL decision not to renew its operating licence
Uber has failed to overturn an employment court ruling that said it must treat its drivers as workers as opposed to self-employed contractors.
It had appealed an Employment Tribunal case past year, brought by two former drivers, that ruled that drivers were effectively working for Uber while the app was switched on, and were not able to make themselves available to other operators as Uber claimed. The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal.
Maria Ludkin, legal director of the GMB, which took the original tribunal case, said: "Uber must now face up to its responsibilities and give its workers the rights to which they are entitled".
"I do not consider it was wrong to hold that a driver would be a worker engaged on working time when in the territory, with the app switched on, and ready and willing to accept trips ("on-duty", to use Uber's shorthand)". It is significant because "workers" under the law are entitled to rights like sick pay and the minimum wage, whereas the self-employed are not.
Jenning said it's conceivable that some Uber drivers could end up being workers and some could end up being self-employed.
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It is highly likely that Uber will now appeal against the EAT decision.
BuzzFeed News understands Uber will proceed with further appeals, with the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court two possible stages in the appeal process. Denmark banned it, Bulgaria's Supreme Court ruled against it, and Hungary said the service was illegal - just to name a few.
"It is the latest in a series of employment tribunal cases examining the status of workers, as seen with Deliveroo, CitySprint and Pimlico Plumbers".
In that case, the Court of Appeal found that a plumber, described in his contract as a "self-employed operative", was entitled to worker rights.
"The growing number of employment tribunals linked to the gig economy shows there is a fundamental lack of clarity over what it means to work on your own behalf". Sham self-employment exploits people and scams the taxman. "The impact of this ruling could affect thousands of drivers, and not just drivers but millions of workers across the U.K". The company has always maintained that drivers who use its platform are independent contractors.
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