Supreme Court rules in Uber drivers’ favour

The Supreme Court has today passed judgment in a landmark case against Uber, bringing a four-year battle to an end by determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

Lawyers at Leigh Day, fighting the case on behalf of union GMB, say tens of thousands of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 each in compensation following the ruling.

Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said: “This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members – but it’s ended in a historic win. The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along: Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage.

“Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire. GMB will now consult with our Uber driver members over their forthcoming compensation claim.”

Commenting on the decision. Michelle Hobbs, employment law expert at Stevens & Bolton LLP, said the global taxi company is now “firmly in the fast lane to higher costs”.

“Now, Uber drivers really are in the driving seat and getting paid for it, as the Supreme Court has held that they are entitled to national minimum wage from the moment they switch on the app and are available to take passengers in their area, even if they are not actually at the wheel. For the estimated 5 million people who work in the UK gig economy, today’s decision is a steer in the right direction and towards better workplace protections.

“What’s more, with their new-found status, these drivers now have the right to bring discrimination claims against their multinational employer. Uber would therefore be wise to review all its practices and ensure there are not grounds for additional costly court cases.”

Hobbs says any business with a gig economy model should take heed today: “This landmark ruling undoubtedly revs up the pressure on gig economy businesses to provide much better terms and conditions to those working for them.”

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