Uber Loses Supreme Court Battle Over Rules That Drivers Are Workers

Uber increases its prices due to rising fuel costs. image: Creative Commons 2.0

Uber Loses Supreme Court Battle Over Rules That Drivers Are Workers.

Supreme Court justices have ruled against ride-hailing giant Uber and said that drivers should now be classed as workers. Seven justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers today, Friday, after a previous hearing in July.

Uber operating companies, who said drivers were contractors and not workers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight. Justices dismissed Uber’s appeal in a decision that the GMB union said was “historic”.

Lawyers said the ruling will have widespread implications for the gig economy. An employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers’ rights. That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and by Court of Appeal judges.

Lawyers representing Uber operating companies told Supreme Court justices that the employment tribunal ruling was wrong. They said drivers did not “undertake to work” for Uber but were “independent, third-party contractors”.

But lawyers representing drivers said the tribunal was entitled to conclude that drivers were working. A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers says they will now be entitled to compensation for lost pay.

Leigh Day lawyers think tens of thousands of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 (€13,832) each. A Leigh Day spokeswoman said the case would return to an employment tribunal, for decisions to be made on how much compensation drivers should get.

 


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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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