A UK ruling recognizes Uber drivers as employees

A UK ruling recognizes Uber drivers as employees

For the Supreme Court judges, the company decides the fares of the rides and operates a significant control over the drivers, who cannot be treated by freelancers

A phone displays the Uber ride-hailing app in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal / Getty Images) Uber must consider its drivers in the United Kingdom as employees and not as freelancers: this was decided by the Supreme Court of London in a judgment of last instance, at the end of a judicial process of five years, departed from the lawsuit filed by two drivers. The decision dismisses an appeal by the company over a previous ruling, noting that Uber sets ride rates and exerts significant control over the drivers who use the app.

Now the ball goes back to the Labor Court, which will have to decide the amount of compensation due to around twenty applicants, led by drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who first brought the matter before the judges in 2016. At the moment it is not clear what changes the company will have to adopt will be, but it may have to guarantee additional benefits and protections to employees, such as, for example, a minimum wage and remuneration for waiting moments between one race and another. A turning point that could have an effect not only on the local business model of the Californian company, which before the pandemic boasted a base of 3.5 million users in London alone, but also affect the entire British gig economy, which involves in total 5.5 million people.

On the same issue Uber recently won (along with its rival Lyft) a battle "at home": 58% of Californians voted to repeal a state law that required the hiring of drivers. On that occasion, Uber and other giants such as DoorDash and Instacart had spent over $ 200 million on a communication campaign, CNN points out. A sentence similar to the British one had already arrived in France in March, when the Supreme Court of Cassation recognized an Uber driver the status of employed, and not self-employed, in Italy. in 2017 excluded the Uber Pop service (non-professional drivers), admitting only Uber Black, a premium service present only in Rome and Milan, with a thousand drivers with NCC authorization. The other company of the group, Uber eats, was commissioned in May 2020 for the hypothesis of illegal hiring formulated in an investigation closed in October, which would have been exercised to the detriment of the riders assigned to deliver the meals booked via the app.

The food delivery sector is trying to find a trade union solution to order the work of the riders. Just Eat recently took the initiative in this direction, announcing a plan of a thousand hires in two months starting in March.

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