Uber, ride-hailing app, has lost an appeal against a landmark ruling regarding the employment rights of its drivers.
Last year, two drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, won a case against the company after arguing that they were workers and that they are entitled to the minimum wage, paid holiday and breaks and sick pay.
During its failed effort to overturn the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, Uber claimed that the ruling could deprive the drivers of the “personal flexibility they value.”
The company, which is also battling against Transport for London over its licence to operate in the capital, stated that it would appeal against Friday’s judgment.
In a statement, Uber stated: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed.
“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.”
Farrar said that he was “really disappointed” over the intention Uber to appeal, adding that it had “an army of lawyers paid for by exploiting labour.”
Farrar continued: “We can’t give up because the case law is so important now that if we give up and give this victory to Uber, then the battle will be so much harder for everybody else that comes after us – not just Uber drivers, but people right across the economy.
“Because if Uber gets away with this, then everywhere you turn in Britain, industrial Britain, you’ll have people under this sort of fake self-employed conditions, carrying all the risk of the business with no worker rights.”
Asking Uber to “throw in the towel,” Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, stated: “No company, however big or well-connected, is above the law.
“Uber must play by the rules and stop denying its drivers basic rights at work. This ruling should put gig economy employers on notice.”n
In October, Uber filed an appeal against a ruling by TfL to reject its application for a licence to operate in London.
TfL said that the company had shown “a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”
Uber hires 40,000 drivers in the capital and can proceed to operate until the said appeal process is finished.
While some drivers have criticised the structure of Uber, others state that the app offered them the opportunity to work whenever they like.
“Every driver I know who uses the app does not want to be a worker for Uber,” Ben Tino, a driver, informed Sky News.
“We want to remain independent – it’s the reason why we all signed up in the first place.”
Tino continued: “I really hope that Uber goes on to win this case otherwise it would be a disaster for the drivers who actually use the app.
“Uber has transformed the private hire industry for the better.”