Uber drivers win 'historic' court battle entitling them to minimum wage and holiday pay

UBER drivers will be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay after winning a “historic” court battle. 

Supreme Court justices today ruled that the ride-hailing app must classify its drivers as “workers” rather than contractors following a lengthy legal battle. 


Uber drivers had previously been treated as self-employed, meaning that in law they were only afforded minimal protections.

The Silicon Valley-based firm appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight, but justices today dismissed the appeal.

A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers said they will now be entitled to compensation for lost pay and minimum wage. 

'FOUR-YEAR BATTLE'

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members – but it's ended in a historic win.

“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.”

It came after an employment tribunal ruled in October 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers' rights.

That decision was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and then by Court of Appeal judges – but the app's lawyers insisted the ruling was wrong.

They said drivers did not "undertake to work" for Uber but were "independent, third party contractors".

Uber said it respected today's ruling, with the firm's Europe manager Jamie Heywood saying it "will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see".

Uber drivers today expressed their relief at the ruling.

Conrad Delphine said that he would now be able to have a holiday after years of working for the company with no holiday or sick pay.

He said: "Things have been worse because of coronavirus. If we catch the virus we should be entitled to sick pay.

"It's about time we had some decent pay and conditions."

Former Uber drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, who won the original employment tribunal in October 2016, told the BBC they were "thrilled and relieved" by the decision.

The ruling is expected to have widespread implications for the gig economy, in which millions of Brits are employed. 

Firms such as Deliveroo, Uber and Amazon pay workers for each individual "gig" they do – such as food delivery or a car journey – instead of by day or by hour.

Companies have highlighted the flexibility of the gig economy as an advantage for workers – though unions claim it is exploitative.

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