Uber has failed in its appeal to the Court of Appeal, with the Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers.
Background To The Uber Appeal
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) handed down its judgment in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others (2017) on the 10th November 2017, in which it upheld the decision at first instance that Uber drivers are workers. Following that defeat, Uber then appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Uber appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal on the 30th October 2018.
Uber Drivers Are Workers
The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the EAT that Uber drivers are workers, and rejected Uber’s appeal. In its Judgment, the Court stated in relation to the “artificiality of the contractual documents,” that there was “a high degree of fiction in the wording (whether in the 2013 or the 2015 version) of the standard form agreement between UBV and each of the drivers.” The Court added that: ” For ULL to be stating to its statutory regulator that it is operating a private hire vehicle service in London, and is a fit and proper person to do so, while at the same time arguing in this litigation that it is merely an affiliate of a Dutch registered company which licenses tens of thousands of proprietors of small businesses to use its software, contributes to the air of contrivance and artificiality which pervades Uber’s case.”
The general secretary of the GMB, Tim Roache, stated: “We’re now at a hat-trick of judgments against Uber; they keep appealing and keep losing. Uber should just accept the verdict and stop trying to find loopholes that deprive people of their hard-won rights and hard-earned pay.”
A spokesperson for Uber said in response to the ruling that Uber drivers are workers that “this decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app. We have been granted permission to appeal to the supreme court and will do so. Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed. If drivers were classified as workers they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss.”
Appeal To Supreme Court
Permission to appeal against the ruling that Uber drivers are workers to the Supreme Court was granted and the Uber spokesperson confirmed that it was the company’s intention to appeal.