22 February 2021 - UK Supreme Court rules that Uber drivers are not self-employed
Uber drivers are workers not self-employed, Supreme Court rules
Mary-Ann Russon (BBC News, 20/02/2021)
Uber drivers must be treated as workers rather than self-employed, the UK's Supreme Court has ruled.
The decision could mean thousands of Uber drivers are entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay.
The ruling could leave the ride-hailing app facing a hefty compensation bill, and have wider consequences for the gig economy.
UK Supreme Court rules Uber drivers are workers
Leonie Carter (Politico, 19/02/2021)
In a blow to the ride-hailing app, the U.K.'s top court unanimously ruled Friday that Uber drivers are workers, upholding previous decisions by lower courts and bringing to a close a years-long legal battle.
Uber drivers must be classified as workers, not self-employed, and are entitled to rights including a minimum wage, working time protections and holiday pay, the court ruled.
The case was brought by former Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who argued that the platform effectively controls how they work. In 2016, an employment tribunal in London found that they qualified for workers' rights — a decision Uber appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Guardian view on the Uber drivers ruling: a challenge to government
Editorial (The Guardian, 19/02/2021)
It is difficult to think of ways in which Friday’s supreme court ruling on the employment status of Uber drivers could have been more emphatic or conclusive than it was. The six justices agreed unanimously to uphold a groundbreaking employment tribunal finding made against the company in 2016. Uber drivers, the court confirmed, are not self-employed – as Uber argued in a succession of appeals – but should be treated as workers, with rights to be paid at least the national minimum wage, to holiday pay and other benefits.
Uber’s claim that it was simply an intermediary between its drivers and passengers was comprehensively dismissed. Every aspect of the company’s attempt to disclaim employment responsibilities was forensically unpicked. The court said it was Uber, not the drivers, who set the fares, which could not be exceeded. Contract terms were set by Uber too, with drivers allowed no say. Once they logged on to the app, it was Uber, not the drivers, that set the rules about accepting requests for rides and monitoring customer satisfaction. The net effect, said the court in a chilling phrase, is that drivers “are in a position of subordination and dependency in relation to Uber”.
Uber drivers ruling: how thousands working in the UK’s gig economy could benefit
Jessica Gracie (The Conversation, 19/02/2021)
It’s been a long old journey for former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yasseen Aslam. But after a five year legal battle, the pair arrived at their chosen destination – a court ruling that drivers for the taxi app firm should be treated as workers rather than independent contractors.
It is a distinction which could have significant implications for the earning rights of Uber drivers, at a potentially heavy cost to the firm, which is fighting similar challenges around the world. The ruling could also have a marked effect on the wider gig economy, paving the way for similar claims that could come from online tutors, supply teachers or freelancers.