Following a landmark in the US earlier in the year, a court in the UK has ruled that Uber drivers have the same rights as full-time employees. The ride-sharing company managed to avoid that ruling in the US, but a precedent was set that has led to the UK siding with drivers.
We have written numerous times how Uber want to keep drivers at arms length to avoid giving them full employee rights. However, courts are taking a dim view of this strategy and it is expected drivers in other nations will soon follow suit. Considering the legal battles Uber has had in Canada, it is likely drivers here will also pursue more rights.
In the UK, the ruling means drivers have to be paid the national minimum wage. They will also get holiday and sick pay and other benefits. We have long argued that Uber is pursuing autonomous vehicles aggressively and one day wants to phase out drivers entirely. That scenario is decades away and the company may now be forced to pay full employee rights in the meantime.
Many would argue Uber has had it too good for too long. The company is valued at $60 billion and should be able to maintain a fleet of employees in each country. Uber insists that its drivers are self-employed and that it provides a platform for them and does not contract them.
While drivers have won this battle, the company is going to appeal the decision and still maintains that it is a technology company and not a transport provider.