Uber has lost its appeal against the UK Supreme Court to classify its drivers as freeland hires rather than contractual workers in a case that has been ongoing since 2016.
The ride-sharing app has been overruled by the Supreme Court that insists drivers do not meet the UK classifications for self-employment and therefore are workers employed by Uber. This is a landmark case that will have implications for Uber in the UK as well as in the rest of the world where use of the app is prevalent.
Since drivers do not meet the criteria for self-employment, Uber will be legally obliged to provide the UK National Minimum Wage to drivers whilst they are logged into the app and waiting for a ride. The wage, which is set to £8.21 an hour for over 25s – roughly $14.63 Australian Dollars – is actually known as the National Living Wage in the UK. It is tied to workers rights clauses that will also mean Uber will now also have to provide holiday pay alongside this new minimum wage.
The court ruling came after Uber appealed the previous decision that was the same as this one now that the court has come to. Since the original court case was started in 2016 by several drivers of Uber at the time, the ride sharing app has been worried about the implications for the reclassification and fought hard to lobby against it.
Drivers were deemed workers rather than self-employed by Uber however since they lacked the agency of a self-employed person. Drivers are not free to set their own ride prices and must meet Uber’s standards and are hence not able to have the same freedoms of self-employed workers.
Uber also had passengers rate the drivers but did not share this information back to the drivers. This information was said to help in the administrative and management side of Uber but has been called a subordination technique in relation to the latest hearing.