Supreme court rules Uber drivers must be classed as workers - what this means

Friday, 19th February 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Friday, 19th February 2021, 10:53 am
Taxi app company Uber must now class its drivers as employees, the Supreme Court has ruled (Photo: Shutterstock)

Taxi app company Uber must now class its drivers as employees, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Uber had appealed to the Court after losing three earlier rounds, but seven justices have now ruled against this in what the GMB union has called “historic”.

What does this ruling mean?

Uber operating companies had said that drivers were contractors and not workers, but the ruling made by the Supreme Court means that they will now be classed as workers.

This decision means that tens of thousands of Uber drivers are set to be entitled to breaks, minimum wage and holiday pay, and the ruling could also leave Uber facing a large compensation bill and have wider consequences for the gig economy.

Judges criticised the contracts Uber had asked their drivers to sign, stating that the terms and conditions “can be seen to have as their object precluding a driver from claiming rights conferred on workers by the applicable legislation”.

The ruling also stated that Uber has to now consider its drivers "workers" from the time they log on to the app, until the time they log off.

Prior to this, Uber had said that if drivers were found to be workers, then it would only count the time during journeys when a passenger is in the car.

‘It’s ended in a historic win’

Mick Rix, GMB national officer, said the “gruelling four-year legal battle” for Uber drivers has now “ended in a historic win.”

Mr Rix said: “The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage.

“Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.

“GMB will now consult with our Uber driver members over their forthcoming compensation claim.”