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Uber dealt tribunal blow


STALLED APPEAL:
Uber lost bid to
overturn workers’
rights decision
STALLED APPEAL: Uber lost bid to overturn workers’ rights decision

TAXI COMPANY LOSES APPEAL OVER WORKERS’ RIGHTS CONDITIONS

TAXI app Uber lost a bid last Friday (10) to overturn a decision by a tribu­nal which had said its drivers deserved workers’ rights such as the minimum wage, in a blow to the company as it al­so battles to keep its licence in London.

Uber immediately said it would ap­peal to higher courts against the deci­sion by the Employment Appeal Tribu­nal (EAT) in central London.

Last year, two drivers successfully ar­gued at a British employment tribunal that Uber exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand taxi service and should grant them workers’ rights such as holiday entitlement and rest breaks.

That decision did not automatically apply to the app’s 50,000 drivers in Britain but was seen as likely to prompt more claims. The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which backed the two drivers, said these companies were “choo-sing to deprive workers of their rights”.

“Today’s victory is further proof, as if any more was needed, that the law is clear and these companies are simply choosing to deprive workers of their rights,” said Jason Moyer-Lee, the IW­GB’s general secretary.

Yaseen Aslam, one of the drivers in­volved in the case, said they would con­tinue their fight to ensure workers’ rights were respected.

“I am glad that the judge today con­firmed what I and thousands of drivers have known all along: that Uber is not only exploiting drivers, but also acting unlawfully,” he said.

Both Aslam and his co-claimant, for­mer driver James Farrar, said they had stopped working for Uber because they could not afford it – but would go back if their status changed. Farrar said drivers make about £5 an hour, but have to cov­er about £400 a week in fixed costs.

Uber disputes this, saying that last year British drivers made average fares of £15 an hour. It cites polling showing nine out of ten drivers are satisfied with working for them.

Uber says its drivers enjoy the flexibil­ity of their work and are self-employed, entitling them in British law to only basic entitlements such as health and safety.

Last Friday it confirmed it would ap­peal against the latest decision. A spokesman said the company had 14 days to submit its application and de­cide whether to apply to take the case to the supreme court.

The firm is currently fighting a decision by London authorities not to renew its licence owing to public safety concerns.

Transport for London shocked Uber in September by deeming it unfit to run a taxi service and refusing to renew its licence, citing their approach to report­ing serious criminal offences and back­ground checks on drivers. (Agencies)