Victory for the App Drivers & Couriers Union
“James Farrar, general secretary of the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), said: “Rather than fix its broken business model, Uber was determined to double down on misclassification at the cost of worker rights, passenger safety and the avoidance of VAT.
“Our victory will now make misclassification unlawful, transform the London minicab industry for the better and finally eradicate sector wide worker rights abuses.”
HIGH COURT SLAPS DOWN UBER CONTRACTOR MODEL
TEST CASE: Judges found hiring model is ‘bogus’ arrangement that misclassifies workers
by Matt Trinder
UBER’S application to declare its widely criticised gig economy business model lawful was rejected by the High Court in a landmark ruling on 6th December.
Judges found it is against the law for the app-based private taxi giant to force drivers to contract directly with passengers after Uber had argued its role was confined merely to that of an internet booking agent.
The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU), which acted as a defendant against the company when the case was heard last month, has slammed the
“bogus” arrangement as helping to misclassify workers as independent contractors.
This was despite the Supreme Court’s historic ruling in February that Uber’s drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays, the union stressed.
When passing judgment in that case, Lord Leggatt questioned whether forcing drivers to contract directly with passengers could be against legislation as regulated by Transport for London (Tf L).
In its delayed decision yesterday, the High Court clarified the matter by declaring that operators like Uber are required by law to enter into a “contractual obligation with the passenger to provide the journey in respect of that booking.”
The ADCU said that the ruling will “fundamentally restructure” the private hire industry in London as almost all 1,832 Tf L licensed operators have used this operating model since the industry first came under regulatory supervision in 2002.
The union blasted the local government body and the capital’s mayor Sadiq Khan for failing to regulate the industry correctly and allowing drivers to be “brutally exploited and passenger safety put at risk.”
The union’s president, Yaseen Aslam, said: “The mayor must now order an urgent review of TfL to find out what went wrong, to bring the industry rapidly into compliance and to ensure passengers and drivers are never again put at risk like this.”
GMB’s national officer Mick Rix said that the judgement underlined the fact that “private hire drivers are workers and must be treated as such under law.
“GMB urges private hire operators such as Bolt and Addison Lee — who still refuse to give drivers the rights to which they are legally entitled — to change their business models in light of [the] judgment.”
In a statement, Uber urged all private operators in London to “ensure drivers are treated fairly.”