Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

London judge agrees Uber must offer benefits to drivers

London judge agrees Uber must offer benefits to drivers

Uber has failed to overturn an employment court ruling that said it must treat its drivers as workers as opposed to self-employed contractors.

Paul Jennings, partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite, which is representing the drivers, told Business Insider that the ruling could prove to be very expensive for Uber if drivers seek to claim back pay that they may have missed out on.

Uber challenged the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in central London, saying it could deprive drivers of the "personal flexibility they value".

Two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, won an employment tribunal case past year after arguing that they were "workers" and entitled to the minimum wage, sick pay and paid leave.

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In its decision in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others, the EAT has now endorsed the original employment tribunal decision that, in practice, Uber's drivers bear the hallmarks of being workers. "This is clearly not the case with people who drive through Uber - they choose when and how long they work for by logging on or off the app", said Chris Bryce, chief executive of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed.

Michael Sippitt, chairman of Clarkslegal, said the scale of the prospective liability for national minimum wage, sick pay and holiday pay, that Uber could face all but guaranteed the company would escalate the legal tussle.

It is highly likely that Uber will now appeal against the EAT decision.

The case could be joined with Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Smith, another employment status case due to be heard in the Supreme Court in 2018. "TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications", TfL said in a statement.

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The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Majlis, the Iranian parliament, also responded to the French President. The French leader alleged that it was " obviously is an Iranian missile", which "shows precisely the strength of their program".

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Uber should throw in the towel and accept today's judgment. "No company, however big or well-connected, is above the law".

'Sham self-employment exploits people and scams the taxman'. It's unlikely to be the end of the story, however, given other "gig economy" cases will soon reach the higher courts and Uber is likely to appeal.

Experts say the ruling could have a substantial impact on Uber's British business model, as well as those for similar companies who rely heavily on contractors.

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