Uber has lost its appeal against a landmark employment rights ruling that its UK drivers should be classified as workers entitled to minimum wage, sick pay and paid holidays.
The Supreme Court’s verdict today - which the ride-sharing company vowed to fight - could affect not only up to 50,000 Uber drivers across the country, but also hundreds of thousands of UK workers in the wider gig economy, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Uber, which has 40,000 drivers in London alone, argues that its drivers are not employees but are instead “partners” who would be deprived of “personal flexibility” if they were classified as workers, Sky News reports. The firm claims that 80% of its drivers would rather be classed as self-employed, adds the BBC.
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“The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive, and so we intend to appeal,” Tom Elvidge, Uber UK’s acting general manager, said in a statement today.
Driver James Farrar - who along with another driver, launched the case that led to the initial ruling - told Sky News that he was “really disappointed” by Uber’s intention to appeal the employment ruling, saying its army of lawyers were paid for by “exploiting labour”.
The beleaguered California company is also fighting to retain its London operating licence after transport regulator TfL decided in September that Uber was not “a fit and proper operator”, following allegations of sex crimes by drivers. The company will keep operating while it appeals that decision.
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