The UK’s Supreme Court has rules Uber drivers must be treated as workers rather than self-employed. Thousands of Uber drivers will now be entitled to minimum wage and holiday pay in the UK. Uber reports this only affects a small amount of a drivers- perhaps just 20 of the original claimants. Drivers who worked for Uber driving at the time of the suit may also be eligible to proceed with a claim for compensation. The ruling will have impact on the gig economy going forward.
The legal battle has been a long one spanning five years. A group of former drivers claimed that they were workers and were entitled to employment rights such as minimum wage, holiday pay and rest breaks. Uber maintains that its drivers are self-employed. It says that it is an “agency” that connects drivers with passengers with the help of an “app.” This classification would benefit for Uber as it would save on costs.
In 2016, an employment tribunal ruled in favor of the group. Now this decision has been upheld. Uber said that it will go back to the employment tribunal to fix compensation. Uber released a statement saying it respected the court’s verdict and that it has made a few provisions since 2016.
Uber shares have fallen 1% as investors are digesting the news about the company’s business model going forward. Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam, left, and James Farrar were the drivers that led the suite against Uber.
Proposition 22 passed in California where freelance workers will be classified as independent contractors. When Californian regulators tried to reclassify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees, voters supported a ballot called Proposition 22 which was against the reclassification. Had it been successful the reclassification would have made these drivers as employees which would have given them more protection.
Uber is exploring a third way. This proposal offers drivers some protection with flexible working hours. It has shared this business model with the EU on Monday. The EU is also in the process of reviewing gig economy platforms.
In other Uber news-Anthony Levandowski, former Uber and Google employee, dissolved a church he founded the “dedicated to artificial intelligence” Way of the the Future church, which worshiped artificial intelligence . Levandowski was accused of stealing trade secrets, sentenced to 18 months in prison, but was later pardoned by Trump. Levandowski started a trucking-focused startup, Otto. Eventually, Uber acquired the firm. Waymo alleged that the ride-hailing giant set up the deal with Levandowski to use Google IP to accelerate self-driving research for the company. .