Uber loses appeal over driver status

Former Uber drivers James Farrar (L) and Yaseen AslamImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The case centres around former Uber drivers James Farrar (left) and Yaseen Aslam

Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling that its drivers should be treated as workers rather than self-employed.

In 2016 a tribunal ruled drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were Uber staff and entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the minimum wage.

That ruling has now been upheld by the Court of Appeal.

However, Uber pointed out that one of the three judges agreed with its argument.

Uber said it intends to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“This decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app,” an Uber spokesperson said.

“Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed. Drivers who use the Uber app make more than the London Living Wage and want to keep the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive.

“If drivers were classified as workers they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss.”


Mr Farrar, who is chair of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union, said: “I am delighted today’s ruling brings us closer to the ending Uber’s abuse of precarious workers made possible by tactics of contract trickery, psychological manipulation and old-fashioned bullying.”

He added that he was dismayed that implementation of worker status for drivers was being further delayed while Uber seeks yet another appeal.

“This is nothing more than a cynical ploy to delay inevitable changes to its business model while it pursues a record breaking $120bn stock market flotation,” Mr Farrar said.

“It’s time for Uber to come clean with all its stakeholders and abide by the decision of the courts.”

‘On notice’

The GMB union said that Uber should “just accept the verdict”, after losing three times in a row.

Prior to this, the Employment Tribunal ruled in November 2017 that it was upholding its original decision.

“This is the perfect early Christmas present for GMB’s Uber members, but this case is about the wider ‘gig economy’ too,” said the GMB’s general secretary Tim Roache.

“Employers are on notice that they can’t just run rough shod over working people to put more on the bottom line for shareholders.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *