Uber update – a whole new scope to definition of ‘worker’?

Following the Employment Tribunal decision in the case of Uber we posted the article “Uber-Defining the modern day worker”. As the year draws to a close what has changed in what will most certainly be a landmark case?

Since the Employment Tribunal held that Uber’s drivers are in fact workers and therefore entitled to greater rights such as paid annual leave and the national living wage, there has been increased pressure for businesses acting on a similar model to Uber to acknowledge the rights of their staff.

Regardless of the fact Uber have indicated they will be appealing the Tribunal decision (meaning a final outcome is still some way off) Uber drivers took to the streets, with a go-slow protest on 22 November 2016 in the hope of trying to guarantee certain rights, such as those that would be afforded to them if the Tribunal ruling is accepted / upheld at appeal.

Deliveroo riders are also getting in on the act and are themselves now seeking to establish that they are workers and not self-employed.

Transport service or app?

So, whilst Uber should perhaps be saving their pennies to cover the holiday allowances and pay rises that they may soon have to dish out, they are in fact embroiled in further litigation with the European Court. Here Uber are seeking to argue that they should not be classified as a transport service (therefore not subject to the strict safety and licensing regulations this includes) as they are in fact an app creating a platform bringing together the driver and customer.

Uber sought to rely on this argument that they are merely a platform in the Tribunal as well, with unsuccessful results so it will be interesting to see how the European Court interpret the matter and whether that Judgment will have any sway on those presiding over the Tribunal appeal.

In short, this matter is far from concluded but it will certainly be a key case to watch in 2017 as the final decision in the matter may well give new scope to the definition of a “Worker” which will impact a great deal of businesses and not just our favourite low fare taxi service, I mean electronic platform.

Should you have any concerns about your rights or the rights of your staff then please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice and assistance.