Ride-sharing giant Uber has lost its final appeal in a long UK legal battle over whether its drivers are self-employed contractors or legally-recognized workers. The ruling draws an end to a five-year-long legal fight and is a major setback for Uber that could affect all gig workers in the United Kingdom.
Bloomberg reports that ride-sharing service Uber has lost a UK Supreme Court ruling over the rights of its drivers in a decision that could affect all gig workers in the country. The judges unanimously ruled that Uber drivers are workers that are entitled to rights such as minimum wage, holiday pay, and rest breaks.
Judge George Leggatt stated that Uber drivers working time is not limited to the time spent driving passengers but also “includes any period when a driver is logged into the app and ready and willing to accept trips.”
The ruling could have a major impact on the UK’s 4.7 million gig economy workers, affecting firms such as Deliveroo, CitySprint, and many others. In response to the ruling, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe Jamie Heywood stated that the company respect’s the court’s decision but added that it “focused on a small number of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” and doesn’t reclassify all UK drivers as workers.
Since then we have made some significant changes to our business, guided by drivers every step of the way. These include giving even more control over how they earn and providing new protections like free insurance in case of sickness or injury. We are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see.
In a recent blog post, Uber stated that the ruling classifies the drivers as “workers” rather than “employees,” which is a legally distinct category.
In a statement, the GMB Union which helped to bring the case against Ubet welcomed the “historic” win. Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said in a statement:
The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay, and minimum wage.
Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.
Read more at Bloomberg here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com