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  1. ITV Report

Uber loses appeal against employment rights ruling

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

Taxi firm Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling on the employment rights of drivers.

Two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, won an employment tribunal case last year after arguing that they were "workers" and entitled to the minimum wage, sick pay and paid leave.

Uber had challenged the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in central London, saying it could deprive drivers of the "personal flexibility they value".

But today's decision was hailed a "victory" by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), who supported the drivers' cases.

The taxi firm announced it will appeal against the ruling.

IWGB General Secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “Today’s victory is further proof, as if any more was needed, that the law is clear and these companies are simply choosing to deprive workers of their rights. These companies are making a mockery of supposed employment rights. The government needs to properly enforce the law and they need to do it now.”

Uber has said it will appeal the decision. Credit: PA

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Uber should throw in the towel and accept today's judgment. No company, however big or well-connected, is above the law.

"Uber must play by the rules and stop denying its drivers basic rights at work."

Maria Ludkin, the GMB's legal director, added: "This landmark decision is a yet more vindication of GMB's campaign to ensure drivers are given the rights they are entitled to and that the public, drivers and passengers are kept safe."

Tom Elvidge, Uber UK's acting general manager, said: "Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed.

"The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive, and so we intend to appeal.

"The tribunal relies on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80% of trips sent to them when logged into the app. As drivers who use Uber know, this has never been the case in the UK.

"Over the last year we have made a number of changes to our app to give drivers even more control. We've also invested in things like access to illness and injury cover and we'll keep introducing changes to make driving with Uber even better."