15 December 2016
Taxi-app firm Uber has filed papers with the Employment Appeal Tribunal after it lost a landmark case this October.
GMB won two test cases against the company, in which the drivers involved were deemed to be “workers” rather than “self employed” and therefore eligible for fundamental employment rights such as minimum wage, rest breaks, and sick and holiday pay.
The Employment Tribunal issued a scathing judgement against the company, saying Uber’s argument that drivers were “self employed” was based upon “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology”.
The ruling added that Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern Europe Jo Bertram “spoke of Uber assisting the drivers to ‘grow’ their businesses, but no driver is in a position to do anything of the kind, unless growing his business simply means spending more hours at the wheel. Reflecting on the case, and on the grimly loyal evidence of Ms Bertram in particular, we cannot help being reminded of Queen Gertrude’s most celebrated line: ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks'”
The Institute of Employment Rights recommends a review of the legal definition of ‘worker’ to ensure those misclassified as self employed, or who are in otherwise precarious roles such as agency work or on zero-hours contracts, are encompassed by fundamental workers’ rights.
This proposal is one of 25 policies within our Manifesto for Labour Law, which has now been adopted by the Labour Party, who are looking into its implementation.