Uber suffered a major labor defeat on Friday in its largest European market, with Britain’s Supreme Court ruling that drivers should be classified as eligible workers for the minimum wage and vacation time.
The case has been meticulously looked at because of its changes to the kick economy, in which companies like Uber have relied on the broad labor force of independent contractors to provide car rides, food and clean housing.
Uber and other gig-economic companies claim that their model gives people flexibility to choose when to work, while critics say it destroys job security and the traditional corporate-employee relationship.
The court ruled that although it was only a technical platform for connecting drivers with passengers, it behaved like an employer by determining fares, allocating rides, and having drivers follow certain routes, and using the appraisal method to regulate drivers.
“Drivers are obedient and biased towards Uber, which means they may or may not have the ability to improve their economic status through professional or entrepreneurial skills,” said Lord George Legot of the Supreme Court in a reading. Judgment. “In practice the only way for them to increase revenue is to work longer hours, while continuing to meet Uber’s performance measures.”
For the past five years, Uber has opposed attempts to classify drivers in the UK as workers, and has appealed the decision to the country’s highest court. Friday’s verdict ‘is expected to affect only the 25 drivers who initially brought the case, but it is seen as a precedent for others across the country.
Following this decision, the employment tribunal will determine how to reward drivers and how this ruling will affect other drivers moving forward.
Uber sought to reduce the decision, saying it would put pressure on the employment tribunal to reduce its limit.
The company said the ruling would only affect a limited number of drivers and did not require it to reclassify all its drivers as workers.
The company argued in the tribunal that it had made a number of changes to its business model to provide additional protection for workers since 2016, allowing it to insure drivers if they were sick or injured when the lawsuit was first filed, and to reject certain rides without penalty.
“We are committed to doing much more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see,” Jamie Howde, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said in a statement.
But some employment advocates say the decision has far-reaching implications than Uber suggests, and that it represents an important moment in the wider labor debate about kick workers and that its role in the economy has grown during epidemics.
Shona Jolly, a human rights and employment law barrister with the Gloucester Chambers in London, said the case “has far greater implications than the Uber case and could be seen as a diabetic moment in the employment rights of workers in the kick economy.”
Nigel McKay, a partner at Lee Day, a law firm representing drivers, said the decision would have a far-reaching impact and that Uber should start offering drivers minimum wages and vacation time or risk facing similar lawsuits from others. He said none of the changes made by Uber since 2016 “will have an impact on the Supreme Court’s federal findings that Uber drivers are workers”.
“Any Uber driver can now join the claim to claim compensation for Uber’s failure to offer paid leave and to ensure that drivers are paid the minimum national minimum wage,” he said.
Uber drivers are currently paid for a ride, and Uber charges 20 percent of each fare. Drivers must pay for their car, insurance and taxi license.
Uber and other gig economic companies have been fighting attempts in other parts of the world to classify workers as employees with mixed success.
In France, Uber Lost an end A driver has the right to be considered an employee in the country’s High Court last year. But in California, Uber and other companies funded a Successful voting process In the November election, drivers should be exempted from a law that would require them to hire and pay for health care, unemployment insurance and other benefits.
With about 60,000 drivers, the UK is one of the company’s most important markets, but also a source of legal issues. In London, where cars are as ubiquitous as traditional black cars, the city traffic regulator has taken action twice Cancel Uber’s taxi license In recent years the company has agreed to new security policies.
He hopes the decision will help Kick workers and lawyers in other countries seek stronger legal protections.
“People all over the world will follow this decision,” he said.