Uber has lost its appeal on the employment rights of its drivers

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Uber was appealing a TfL decision not to renew its operating licence (Source: Getty)

Uber has lost its appeal on the employments rights of its drivers, the GMB union has said.

The company was appealing an employment tribunal ruling that Uber drivers are entitled to basic workers' rights.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) rejected Uber’s argument that it is merely an agent that connects drivers and passengers, and confirmed the Employment Tribunal’s decision that the true nature of the relationship is that Uber drivers work for Uber, according to lawyers for GMB, which brought the action.

"This landmark decision is yet more vindication for GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to - and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe," said Maria Ludkin, GMB's legal director.

"GMB is delighted the EAT made the correct decision to uphold the original employment tribunal ruling. Uber must now face up to its responsibilities and give its workers the rights to which they are entitled.

"GMB urges the company not to waste everyone’s time and money dragging their lost cause to the Supreme Court."

Uber UK's acting general manager, Tom Elvidge, said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed. The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal.

"The tribunal relies on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80 per cent of trips sent to them when logged into the app. As drivers who use Uber know, this has never been the case in the UK.

"Over the last year we have made a number of changes to our app to give drivers even more control. We’ve also invested in things like access to illness and injury cover and we’ll keep introducing changes to make driving with Uber even better."

The ride-hailing app is also currently appealing a decision by Transport for London (TfL) to stop the company from doing business in the capital.

In September, TfL said it would not renew Uber's licence to operate in London. At the time, TfL said: "Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence."

The decision to effectively ban Uber was met by an array of reactions, with some praising the Mayor's "courage" in deciding against the tech firm's application, while others said the decision was damaging to both the thousands of people employed by the group and those that use the app.

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