Uber taken to Employment Tribunal over issue of its drivers’ employment rights

A group of Uber drivers is taking the company to the Employment Tribunal, and will ask the tribunal to decide whether they should officially be recognised as workers rather than self-employed.  As workers, they would have employee benefits such as the right to sick pay and holiday pay. The case against Uber is being taken by 19 drivers. 

Annie Powell, a solicitor at law firm Leigh Day which represents the drivers, said the case hinged on two things: the nature of Uber’s business and the control it had over drivers. “Uber is arguing that it is a technology company and that it does not provide a transport service to customers, it just puts them in touch with drivers,” she said.

Ms Powell said the hearing would seek to prove that this was not the case, and that because drivers were subject to ratings and were not told where customers needed to be dropped off, they were not operating as self-employed businesses. “We are arguing that they are workers, [who] have fewer rights than employees, but are entitled to the national minimum wage, holiday pay, the right not to be discriminated against and the right not to have deductions made from their salary,” she said.

Jo Bertram, the regional general manager for Uber UK, said more than 30,000 drivers in London used the app “and this case only involves a very small number. The main reason people choose to partner with Uber is so they can become their own boss, pick their own hours and work completely flexibly.”

Employment Tribunal - Direct Access Barristers