Uber Drivers Should Receive Workers’ Rights - Landmark Decision

On 28 October 2016, the Employment Tribunal ruled that two Uber drivers were in fact ‘workers’ within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and not self-employed contractors. 
The decision in this high-profile case, which was heard in July 2016, is considered one of the most important employment cases in 2016.

The drivers contested their “employment” status with the GMB union arguing on their behalf that their employment terms and conditions meant they were not technically self-employed and were in fact ‘workers’.

Uber's Position

·     That they are not providing a transport service, but are just a technology company which is essentially an “app” putting drivers and end users in touch. They are simply a facilitator of those 2 user groups

·     That the drivers are free to choose which fares to accept and do not have to work at particular times. They are required to maintain their own vehicles and pay for the running costs. 

·     That the drivers do not have to work exclusively for Uber

The Driver's Position

·     Uber control how much passengers are charged

·     Passengers pay Uber for the journey, and then pay a percentage of the fare to the drivers

·     Uber require the drivers to follow particular routes

·     Uber uses a ratings system to rate performance

·     Uber therefore have sufficient control over the drivers to warrant a “worker” relationship.

As a worker you are entitled to certain rights including the right to receive the national minimum wage (and the national living wage), the right to 5.6 weeks holiday, protection under whistleblowing legislation and the right to a maximum 48 hour working week with paid rest breaks. Importantly, however, you do not have the right to bring an unfair dismissal claim or the right to receive a statutory redundancy payment as these rights are exclusive to employees.

This ruling will be particularly important for businesses who have a number of temporary positions and who contract in short-term independent workers. However, at the current time, this ruling only directly affects the two drivers in the case.

Uber have stated that they will be appealing this decision and therefore we may not receive a final determination for a while,

Watch this space!


Posted on 11/02/2016 by Ortolan

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