THE GMB union scored an ‘historic’ win on Friday when the Supreme Court passed judgement in the union’s landmark workers’ rights case against Uber.
This is after four court wins in four years. The GMB will now consult with Uber driver members over their forthcoming compensation claim at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Judges ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.
Mick Rix, the GMB national officer, commented: ‘This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members – but it’s ended in a historic win. 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.’
Lawyers Leigh Day, fighting the case on behalf of GMB, say tens of thousands of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 each in compensation.
Yesterday’s ruling is the fourth time Uber has lost in court over its treatment of drivers.
In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour.
Instead of accepting the judgement of the courts, Uber took their case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in 2017, which also ruled against the ride-sharing company.
Then in 2018, the Court of Appeal judgement became Uber’s third legal defeat on this issue.
Mick Rix added: ‘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.’
One of the two claimants whose names the case was in, James Farrar, who is General Secretary of the App Drivers & Couriers Union, commented: ‘This is a massive day. What we have achieved is a ruling that enforces the minimum wage. It has been a long journey for what should be a fairly minor ask of Uber.
‘But nevertheless we are here now, we have won and I hope things will never be the same again.
‘There are millions of people working in these conditions in Britain today.
‘I am part of a great team, a great legal team, a great trade union team, the GMB union and the App Drivers & Couriers Union and I played a small part in this.
‘But it is a very important ruling that drivers now have the protection of the minimum wage from logon to logoff.
‘And this will have massive knock-on effects in terms of the security that drivers need, that they will at least earn that minimum wage and that they will not have to work endless amounts of hours, they will have the protection of holiday pay.
‘That means a lot. If you are in a situation that Uber drivers are, that you work 30 hours a week just to break even, you have to work 60-90 hours a week to bring something worthwhile home. That means you can’t afford to stop working.
‘So to have holiday pay in that context is a massive, massive comfort.
‘Imagine being able to take a day off to be able to do something with your children at school, or if you are not feeling well.
‘What we still do not have is access to sick pay or protection from unfair dismissal.
‘These are things that we will still have to fight for, but this is a huge step forward.’