Supreme Court declares Uber drivers are workers not self-employed

After a four-year legal battle, the UK’s highest court has ruled that Uber drivers must be treated as workers rather than self-employed.

This decision will see thousands of Uber drivers entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage, following the long legal battle. Uber has around 60,000 drivers in Britain, 45,000 of which work in London, one of Uber’s most important markets.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal stating it was an intermediary party. The court ruled that drivers should be considered to be working whenever they are logged into the app, not only when they are driving a passenger.

Several elements were considered when coming to the unanimous decision:

  • Uber sets the terms of the contract and drivers have no input
  • Uber sets the fare prices which dictates how much drivers can earn
  • Uber regularly monitors a driver’s service through their star rating and has the power to dismiss the driver if their star rating does not improve after repeated warnings
  • Uber constrains requests for rides and can penalise drivers if they reject a high volume of rides

Many believe this ruling will have future ramifications on other firms operating in the gig economy, such as Deliveroo.

Co-lead claimant and general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers union, James Farrar, said “This ruling will fundamentally reorder the gig economy and bring an end to rife exploitation of workers by means of algorithmic and contract trickery.”

Following the court ruling, many other drivers for Uber will reportedly be making claims, which could be worth thousands of pounds in compensation.

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