Uber must guarantee basic employment rights

Uber must offer its drivers basic employment rights to include holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks after a ruling by a London employment tribunal ruling today.

The GMB union took two test cases to the Central London Employment Tribunal on the 20th July. The union described the ruling as a “monumental victory” against Uber.

In a statement the GMB said: “The Tribunal decision will have major implications for over 30,000 drivers in London and across England and Wales and for workers in other occupations.

“GMB found last year that a member working exclusively for Uber received just £5.03 per hour in August after costs and fees were taken into account, significantly below the national minimum wage of £7.20. Lawyers for the drivers also argued that Uber acts unlawfully by frequently deducting sums from drivers’ pay, often without informing the drivers in advance, including when customers make complaints.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s Legal Director, commented: “Uber drivers and other directed workers do have legal rights at work. The question for them now is how those rights are enforced in practice. The clear answer is that the workforce must combine into the GMB union to force the company to recognise these rights and to negotiate fair terms and conditions for the drivers.

“This loophole that has allowed unscrupulous employers to avoid employment rights, sick pay and minimum wage for their staff and costing the government millions in lost tax revenue will now be closed.”

Ludkin added: “GMB puts employers on notice that we are reviewing similar contracts masquerading as bogus self employment, particularly prevalent in the so called ‘gig economy’.”

Other delivery and taxi companies need to take note of this ruling with the general trend to payment per delivery and making their staff self employed. Whether they pay their own taxes or not a driver constitutes an employee under certain terms of their work regardless of whether they are employed in the normal way or not.
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