Taxi giant Uber must classify its drivers as workers with minimum wage, vacation and sick pay rights rather than self-employed, the UK Supreme Court ruled on Friday.
The decision follows a long-standing legal battle that the American company had brought to the Supreme Court in Great Britain.
One group of drivers had claimed to deny that they should be classified as employees and not as independent third party contractors, which means they are entitled to all basic employment protection legislation under UK law.
A key point in the Supreme Court ruling is that Uber must treat its drivers as “workers” from signing in to signing out.
“Our clients have been fighting for workers’ rights for many years. We are excited that the end is finally in sight,” said Nigel Mackay, a partner on the employment team at the Leigh Day law firm who represented some of the Uber drivers involved in the case.
“A labor court, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal have already ruled that Uber drivers are entitled to workers’ rights, and now the Supreme Court has come to the same conclusion,” he said.
The ruling could mean significant compensation claims for drivers as he said the company would seek compensation.
After the decision on Friday, the labor court must now decide how much compensation the 25 drivers should receive in the first case from 2016.
While the decision only applies to these 25 drivers, it sets a precedent for how such workers will be treated in the UK’s so-called “gig economy”.
“I am overjoyed and very relieved to have made this decision, which will bring relief to so many workers in the gig economy who desperately need them,” said Yaseen Aslam, co-lead applicant and president of the App Drivers & Couriers Union.
“This decision will fundamentally reorganize the gig economy and end the widespread exploitation of workers through algorithmic and contractual tricks,” added James Farrar, co-applicant and general secretary of the union.
“Uber drivers are being cruelly sold a false dream of endless flexibility and entrepreneurial freedom. The reality was illegally low wages, dangerously long hours and intense digital surveillance,” he said.
In response to the ruling, Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said the company respected the court’s decision, stressing that it “focused on a small number of drivers using the Uber app over the year 2016 used “.
“Since then, we’ve made some significant changes to our business, driven by drivers every step of the way, including greater control over their earnings and new protections like free insurance in the event of illness or injury,” said Heywood.
“We are determined to do more and will now consult with any active rider across the UK to understand the changes they would like to see,” he said.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)