Source | www.unleashgroup.io | ALLIE NAWRAT
- Following a supreme court ruling, Uber decided to turn its UK drivers into ‘workers’.
- Will this move have far-reaching effects on the gig economy?
- The debate is far from over about how to balance workers’ rights and their desire for flexible contracts
Uber has decided to legally transition its 70,000 UK drivers into ‘workers,’ making them eligible for a minimum hourly wage, holiday pay, and employer pension contributions.
Talking about Uber’s move, the company’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe Jamie Heywood said: “This is an important day for drivers in the UK.”
Writing in the Evening Standard, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained that the company decided that “the status quo of independent work is simply not good enough. A growing number of people are choosing this type of work because of the flexibility it provides [but] it is increasingly clear to us that flexibility alone is insufficient and that it should not come at the expense of social protections.”
This U-turn from Uber came a month after the UK supreme court upheld a ruling against the ride-hailing company and its arguments that its drivers were independent self-employed ‘partners’ benefiting from flexible working arrangements.
In addition, the supreme court considered the realities of the working relationship between Uber and its drivers.
It “rejected Uber’s argument that it was simply a technology platform acting as a ‘booking agent’ for drivers by putting them in touch with passengers,” explains Fieldfisher partner and employment lawyer Nick Thorpe.
The court sought to protect vulnerable workers, “finding that the Uber drivers were in a relationship of subordination and dependency to Uber,” he added.