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The UK supreme court has today (19th February 2021) dismissed Uber’s appeal against an employment tribunal ruling that stated its drivers should be classed as workers and receive paid holidays and the minimum wage.
The unanimous decision backed the October 2016 employment tribunal ruling that could affect millions of workers in the gig economy (which is ultimately based on flexible, temporary or freelance working rather than more permanent jobs which offer a regular wage). The court stated that draft artificial contracts designed by companies to swerve protections were void and unenforceable. The six judges also cited the contracts that Uber asked their drivers to sign; saying they “can be seen to have as their object precluding a driver from claiming rights conferred on workers by the applicable legislation”.
The supreme court was not convinced that the contractual arrangements Uber conducted with drivers were compliant with the regulatory regime overseen by Transport for London. Uber will now not be able to launch further appeals against the ruling. The next step is for the case to go back to the employment tribunal, which will determine the level of compensation for Uber’s drivers.