UK Employment Tribunal Rules That Uber Drivers Are Employees

Image courtesy of Alper Çuğun

The question of whether drivers for Uber and other app-based ride-hailing services is an international one, since the service relies on the same independent contractors model around the world. In the United Kingdom, an employment tribunal ruled that drivers for Uber, specifically, should have “employee” status, which includes minimum wage and paid time off.

The case concerned two individual Uber drivers, but the general union GMB actually brought the case to the tribunal. “This is a monumental victory that will have a hugely positive impact on drivers… and for thousands more in other industries where bogus self-employment is rife,” the union’s legal director said in a statement.

Uber plans to appeal the decision, which could affect its competitors, as well as food delivery services that use an independent contractor model for labor. That would be an expensive proposition for the companies, especially since lawyers are currently caclulating how much back pay the drivers might be due.

The tribunal’s verdict was that a driver’s shift begins when he or she logs in to the app and is ready to accept assignments, not just when the driver has a paying fare, and minimum wage would be based on time logged in.

Uber’s UK general manager told Reuters that the decision only affects the two drivers named in the case, but the company plans to appeal it anyway.

UK tribunal rules Uber drivers deserve workers’ rights [Reuters]

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