A driver makes use of the Uber app to drop off a passenger in London.
Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg by way of Getty Images
LONDON — Uber misplaced a essential authorized combat in the U.Okay. on Friday, as the nation’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that its drivers must be labeled as workers quite than unbiased contractors.
The Supreme Court voted unanimously to dismiss Uber’s attraction in opposition to the ruling.
The verdict concludes an nearly five-year authorized battle between Uber and a group of former drivers who declare they had been workers entitled to employment rights like a minimal wage, vacation pay and relaxation breaks.
In 2016, an employment tribunal dominated in favor of a group of former Uber drivers, led by Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who claimed they had been workers employed by Uber and subsequently entitled to sure labor protections.
Uber insists its drivers are self-employed and that it acts as extra of an “agency” which connects them with passengers by an app. Uber needs to maintain the authorized classification of its drivers as unbiased contractors unchanged, arguing drivers want this “gig” mannequin as it is extra versatile — it additionally advantages Uber from a price perspective.
The U.Okay. case echoes Uber’s authorized combat with Californian regulators, who final 12 months tried to reclassify drivers of Uber and different ride-hailing providers like Lyft as staff to grant them extra employment protections.
But voters supported a poll measure referred to as Proposition 22, which exempted Uber and different gig economic system platforms from reclassifying drivers as staff.
The Supreme Court ruling doubtlessly jeopardizes Uber’s enterprise mannequin in the U.Okay. The firm will now have to return to the employment tribunal to find out compensation for the drivers concerned in the case. It may additionally face claims from hundreds of different drivers in the nation.
It additionally has major implications for Britain’s gig economic system, which is assumed to have a workforce of round 5.5 million folks. Other firms working a related mannequin to Uber’s embody Bolt, Ola and Deliveroo.