Uber dealt a serious blow within the UK as high court docket guidelines its drivers are staff

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A driver makes use of the Uber app to drop off a passenger in London.

Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg through Getty Pictures

LONDON — Uber misplaced a vital authorized combat within the U.Ok. on Friday, because the nation’s Supreme Court docket upheld a ruling that its drivers needs to be labeled as staff relatively than impartial contractors.

The Supreme Court docket voted unanimously to dismiss Uber’s enchantment towards the ruling.

The decision concludes an virtually five-year authorized battle between Uber and a gaggle of former drivers who declare they had been staff entitled to employment rights like a minimal wage, vacation pay and relaxation breaks.

In 2016, an employment tribunal dominated in favor of a gaggle of former Uber drivers, led by Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who claimed they had been staff employed by Uber and due to this fact entitled to sure labor protections.

Uber insists its drivers are self-employed and that it acts as extra of an “company” which connects them with passengers by way of an app. Uber needs to maintain the authorized classification of its drivers as impartial contractors unchanged, arguing drivers choose this “gig” mannequin because it’s extra versatile — it additionally advantages Uber from a price perspective.

The U.Ok. case echoes Uber’s authorized combat with Californian regulators, who final yr tried to reclassify drivers of Uber and different ride-hailing providers like Lyft as workers to grant them extra employment protections.

However voters supported a poll measure referred to as Proposition 22, which exempted Uber and different gig economic system platforms from reclassifying drivers as workers.

The Supreme Court docket ruling probably jeopardizes Uber’s enterprise mannequin within the U.Ok. The corporate will now have to return to the employment tribunal to find out compensation for the drivers concerned within the case. It may additionally face claims from 1000’s of different drivers within the nation.

It additionally has main implications for Britain’s gig economic system, which is assumed to have a workforce of round 5.5 million folks. Different firms working an analogous mannequin to Uber’s embrace Bolt, Ola and Deliveroo.