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Uber Taxi Drivers - are they entitled to protection as workers?

20th July 2016

In what is being called the employment tribunal case of the year,  a group of Uber taxi drivers will argue that the terms and conditions of their work with the company mean that they are not self-employed and should be entitled to a range of employment rights that they currently do not receive.

The case underlines the growth of the so-called “gig economy”, where companies designate their staff as “self-employed” rather than keeping people on their books.   In the UK there is a third option between full employee status (which employers perceive as costly) and the lack of employee rights which come with  genuine self-employed status. The third option of “worker” gives basic protections to individuals such as the national minimum wage, holiday pay, the right not to be discriminated against and the right not to have deductions made from pay.   The Uber drivers are arguing that they should be designated as workers.  Whether someone is a “worker”  hinges on the amount of control which Uber has over its drivers and that is the nub of case.   The case will be followed closely by other businesses, for example those who engage drivers in parcel delivery and fast food delivery, where many of the same issues arise.  Watch this space.

For further information, please contact Jacqueline McCluskey.

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