A landmark ruling that established Uber drivers were “workers” and not self-employed drivers was on Wednesday upheld by the Court of Appeal.
The ride-hailing company said it would take its case to the Supreme Court following the decision, which dismissed its claims it acted as an agent connecting drivers and passengers.
The ruling is the latest in a bitter battle between Uber and its drivers. In October 2016, an employment tribunal ruled Uber drivers were workers entitled to the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
Uber appealed against the decision, but a London tribunal upheld the ruling in November last year.
The San Francisco-based company took the case to the Court of Appeal, claiming to the court that earlier rulings had misunderstood the nature of the relationship.
The company also said it was “absurd” for Uber to be required to pay its drivers the minimum wage while they were logged on to the Uber app — even if they were also simultaneously logged on to the competing apps of other operators.
The decision marks the latest example of British case law siding against companies claiming to employ individuals as independent contractors rather than workers.
The UK Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that a tradesman working for Pimlico Plumbers was a worker entitled to certain benefits. Cases brought by individuals against companies including Addison Lee, CitySprint and Hermes have also led to judges ruling they were “workers” rather than independent contractors.
Yaseen Aslam, the Uber driver who first took the firm to court alongside fellow worker James Farrar, said: “I’m delighted with today’s ruling but frustrated the process has dragged on for over three years. It cannot be left to precarious workers like us to bring companies like Uber to account.”
An Uber spokesman said: “This decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app. We have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and will do so.”
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