On your bike – Uber loses workers’ rights tribunal to GMB

The GMB has scored a landmark victory for worker’s rights after the Employment Appeal Tribunal today upheld a ruling that Uber drivers should be classified as workers.

In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour, determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

GMB brought the claims on behalf of 25 of its members to the Central London Employment Tribunal on 20 July 2016 and it decided that Uber drivers are entitled to receive holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

Since then, the number of GMB member claimants has increased to 68.Rather than accept the decision, the £51 billion San-Francisco transport giant has fought tooth and nail to deny drivers the rights to which they are entitled.

But today, the employment appeal tribunal upheld the original decision.

The ruling is the latest blow for Uber after TfL refused to renew their license to operate in London.

GMB legal director Maria Ludkin said: “This landmark decision is a yet more vindication of GMB’s campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to – and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe.

“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.”

Nigel Mackay, employment solicitor at law firm Leigh Day said: “We are very pleased that the EAT has rejected Uber’s appeal. We have always believed that the Employment Tribunal’s decision from last October was entirely correct in saying that our GMB member clients were entitled to workers’ right such as the minimum wage and holiday pay.

“We now hope that Uber will accept this decision, rather than seeking pursuing appeals, so that we can swiftly return to the Employment Tribunal on behalf of our GMB member clients, for the Tribunal to decide the compensation that they are entitled to.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Uber should throw in the towel and accept today’s judgement. No company, however big or well connected, is above the law. Uber must play by the rules and stop denying its drivers basic rights at work.

“This ruling should put gig economy employers on notice. Unions will expose nasty schemes that try and cheat workers out of the minimum wage and holiday pay. Sham self-employment exploits people and scams the taxman. The Uber drivers’ union GMB deserve huge credit for their work on this case.”

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