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Uber drivers are workers, rules U.K.’s top court

The ruling could have major implications for other gig-economy companies.

Uber drivers are workers, rules U.K.’s top court
[Photo: Charles Deluvio/Unsplash]
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Uber drivers in the U.K. have a right to be classified as workers and not self-employed if they so wish, reports Bloomberg. The landmark ruling comes after the U.K.’s Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Uber, thus siding with an earlier ruling brought by a group of Uber drivers who said they should be considered workers and not self-employed contractors.

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The ruling will send shockwaves around not just U.K., but the world, where gig-economy workers are increasingly calling for rights like paid sick leave, health insurance, and holiday pay. In the U.K. a group of 25 Uber drivers brought the case against Uber back in 2016, arguing they deserve a minimum wage and rest breaks. With the U.K. Supreme Court’s ruling, those drivers could now be entitled to thousands in back pay.

However, the ruling today does not mean all Uber drivers in the U.K. are automatically classified as employees. Rather, the group of 25 who sued Uber will have the right to be classified as such. There are around 1,000 other claims from U.K. drivers similar to the group of 25, which may now proceed. However, legal experts told Bloomberg that now tens of thousands of Uber drivers in the U.K. can now claim the right to be classified as employees if they so wish.

In a statement, Uber’s regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Jamie Heywood, said, “we are committed to doing more and will now consult with every active driver across the UK to understand the changes they want to see.”

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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