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An Employment Tribunal panel has held that Uber drivers fell within the definition of a ‘worker’ and were entitled to the national minimum wage, holiday pay, and protection of whistle-blower rights.  Uber argued that it merely ran a technology platform connecting drivers to passengers and in response the Judge stated that “the notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common platform is …faintly ridiculous.”


The Judge continued:“ Any organisation (a) running an enterprise at the heart of which is the function of carrying people in motor cars from where they are to where they want to be and (b) operating in part through a company discharging the regulated responsibilities of a PHV operator, but (c) requiring drivers and passengers to agree, as a matter of contract, that it does not provide transportation services ( through the Dutch UBV company or the UK Uber London Ltd) and (d) resorting in its documentation to fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology merits we think a degree of scepticism.
“Our scepticism is not diminished when we are reminded of the many things said and written in the name of Uber in unguarded moments which reinforce the Claimants’ simple case that the organisation runs a transportation business and employs drivers to that end…that it is unreal to deny that Uber is in business as a supplier of transportation services…it is not real to regard Uber as 
working for the drivers and that the only sensible interpretation is that the relationship is the other way around.”

The tribunal panel held that the large degree of control that existed by Uber over the drivers was synonymous with that of a worker and not as Uber asserted as a status akin to that or being self-employed. “The drivers fall full square within the terms of the 1996 Act s230 (3) (b) (Employment Rights Act 1996).”

“This is not a contract at arm’s length between two independent business undertakings…they (the drivers) are recruited by Uber to work as integral components of its organisation.” 

An appeal may yet be forthcoming from Uber.