Uber Judgement – “A Monumental Victory”

private-hire-a7506026By Tony Burke, Chair, Campaign For Trade Union Freedom

A London tribunal has ruled today that Uber drivers are entitled to basic workers’ rights. This is a landmark legal case. The action was brought by the GMB union and legal firm Leigh Day.

Nigel Mackay, employment lawyer at Leigh Day, said: “We are delighted that the employment tribunal has found in favour of our clients. This judgement acknowledges the central contribution that Uber’s drivers have made to Uber’s success by confirming that its drivers are not self-employed but that they work for Uber part of the company’s business.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director, called it “a monumental victory”. She said: “This loophole that has allowed unscrupulous employers to avoid employment rights, sick pay and minimum wage for their staff and costing the government millions in lost tax revenue will now be closed.”

There will now be a further hearing in the employment tribunal to calculate the holiday and pay that the drivers should receive.

Uber confirmed it would be making an appeal.

Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK said: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss. The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want. While the decision of this preliminary hearing only affects two people we will be appealing it.”

Uber has to lodge an appeal within 42 days and it can only appeal on a question of law. It is anticipated it will likely be three or four months until it’s heard.

Beyond that, it could go onto the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court.

Uber considers its drivers self-employed “partners”, while GMB has says Uber said should “conform to employment law” and give its drivers rights such as minimum wage, mandatory breaks and paid leave.

The decision could have a massive effect on other workers and companies in the platform or gig economy.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC Comment – click here.

GMB Press release – click here.

Follow @unionfreedom for all the main news items on the Uber decision

The key findings are set out below:


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