20 April 2017
Uber has been granted the right to appeal last year’s tribunal decision that drivers for the firm were “workers” not “self employed” and therefore eligible for workers’ rights.
The taxi app’s case will be heard on 27 September 2017 over two days, during which the company will argue that the Central London Employment Tribunal erred in its judgement last autumn.
But the company’s appeal will be a tall order, as the company has received widespread criticis, for the legal incoherence of its contracts.
At the GMB-supported case in October, the Tribunal said that Uber’s argument that its drivers are “self-employed” is based on “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology”.
“The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous,” the panel said.
More recently, the government’s Select Committee for the Work and Pensions was scathing of Uber’s business practices.
Chair of the Committee Frank Fields said: “Quite frankly the Uber contract is gibberish …They are well aware that many, if not most, of their drivers speak English as a second language – they recently lost a court case trying to escape TfL’s new English testing rules for private hire drivers – yet their contract is almost unintelligible.
“And it, like Deliveroo’s, contains this egregious clause about not challenging the official designation of “self-employed”, when the way they work looks in most ways an awful lot like being employed.
“These companies parade the “flexibility” their model offers to drivers but it seems the only real flexibility is enjoyed by the companies themselves. It does seem a marvellous business model if you can get away with it.”
Leigh Day, which represented the successful case against Uber in October, has vowed to take more cases against the firm, stating that it has heard from many drivers unhappy with their working conditions.