Uber Challenges UK Ruling Regarding Driver Employment Rights

Oct 30, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Just four months after renewing its temporary license to operate in London, Uber is going to court in the UK again – this time over employment rights.

The transportation giant has always maintained that its drivers are self-employed “partners” of the company who are more like contractors than direct employees of Uber– a distinction the rideshare pioneer has contested in more than one global arena. But in 2016, the UK declared that Uber drivers must legally be considered company employees, entitled to minimum wages and benefits such as holiday pay, among other rights. Uber initially appealed the court’s decision – and lost – before the Employment Appeal Tribunal in November 2017. Now the company is trying its appeal once again before the second-highest court in the land: the UK Court of Appeal. The hearing will take place over Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed,” an Uber spokesperson said. The spokesperson also referenced a recent study conducted by Oxford University, which found that London Uber drivers primarily come from the bottom half of London’s income distribution and report making $14/hour on average – slightly more than London’s living wage base of $12.99/hour. The study tangentially observed that London Uber drivers also reported higher levels of life satisfaction than other workers surveyed for the study. “If drivers were classed as workers they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss,” the spokesperson said.

London has approximately 45,000 Uber drivers and more than 3.5 million users across the UK. Earlier in 2018, Uber announced a partnership with insurance company AXA to offer European drivers insurance coverage for injury, sickness and family leave payments among other needs.

Uber is one of the best-known global drivers behind the rise of the gig economy, where companies hire independent workers on a highly flexible temporary basis. But many employment organizations, such as the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB), have expressed concerns about workers’ rights – or the lack thereof – under such labor premises. This week’s appeal and resulting decision will have crucial ramifications for business models of other companies beyond the rideshare space, such as Airbnb and local courier delivery services.

“Uber has acquired a dominant position within the market incredibly quickly,” said Paul Jennings, a UK lawyer who is representing two Uber drivers. “A key issue in this case is whether Uber has mischaracterized the employment status of its fleet, and in so doing, failed to observe fundamental employment rights. The financial implications of this judgment could be very significant.”

Featured photo courtesy of Uber.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.