London taxi drivers tackle Uber over workers’ rights

Two London taxi drivers have taken growing app giant Uber to an Employment Tribunal this week, in a workers’ rights battle which seeks to challenge the contractor model of employment.

Appearing in Court today, the duo will argue that Uber drivers should be considered ‘employees’ as opposed to self-employed ‘partners’.

Their bid for standard workers’ rights, including minimum wage, mandatory breaks, paid holiday and leave, could set a precedent for some 30,000 Uber drivers currently operating in London – and thousands more across the UK.

Their claim could have an impact not just on the working status of Uber taxi drivers, but in terms of compensation pay-outs and further claims, too.

Mr Justin Bowden, of the GMB workers union, who have brought action against Uber alongside the two disgruntled drivers, said: “Uber is a multinational, multi-billion dollar company and GMB believes they are unlawfully denying their drivers fundamental rights which are designed to ensure workers can enjoy a minimum standard of living”.

In opposition, Uber has commented that their drivers currently enjoy the flexibility of contracting under the recognised Uber name.

“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,” said Uber’s UK regional director Jo Bertram

“Many partner-drivers have left other lines of work and chosen to partner with Uber for this very reason. In fact two thirds of new partner-drivers joining the Uber platform have been referred by another partner.

“More than 30,000 people in London drive with our app and this case only involves a very small number,” she added.

The Tribunal is expected to last until the beginning of next week.

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch covering the full range of employment law issues. For more information about our employment law services, please contact Andrew Firman or telephone: 020 7406 1000.