Supreme Court rules against Uber gig economy driver contracts

The UK Supreme Court has backed a 2016 employment tribunal ruling against Uber that will force the company to guarantee Minimum Wage and paid holidays.

In dismissing the app based driver and delivery company’s appeal, the Court has set a precedent that will affect millions of self-employed drivers’ contracts. In the judgement the Court criticised the contracts Uber agreed with Uber’s drivers, saying they can “be seen to have as their object precluding a driver from claiming rights conferred on workers by the applicable legislation”.

Lord Leggatt said in the judgement he was ‘not convinced’ that the contracts were compliant with the regulatory regime that is supervised by Transport for London.

The case is one of a number that challenge the self-employed status of gig-economy workers, including actions against the minicab company Addison Lee and delivery groups CitySprint, Excel and eCourier.

James Farrar, the co-lead claimant and general secretary of the App Drivers and Couriers union, said: “This ruling will fundamentally re-order the gig economy and bring an end to rife exploitation of workers by means of algorithmic and contract trickery. Uber drivers are cruelly sold a false dream of endless flexibility and entrepreneurial freedom.

“The reality has been illegally low pay, dangerously long hours and intense digital surveillance. I am delighted that workers at last have some remedy because of this ruling, but the government must urgently strengthen the law so that gig workers may also have access to sick pay and protection from unfair dismissal.”

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said: “No company is above the law. Uber must play by the rules and stop denying its drivers basic rights at work.

“This ruling is an important win for gig economy workers and for common decency. Sham self-employment exploits people and lets companies dodge paying their fair share of tax.”