Uber has lost its appeal to the Supreme Court over drivers’ rights in a decision which could have wider implications for the gig economy.
The Supreme Court has decided in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others that tens of thousands of Uber drivers in the UK, most of them in London, are workers, which means that they are entitled to be paid the national minimum wage, holiday pay and for rest breaks.
After winning the four-year legal battle, union GMB will now consult with Uber driver members over their forthcoming compensation claim at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Lawyers Leigh Day, fighting the case on behalf of GMB, have said Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 each in compensation.
It is thought that the decision will also have a significant impact on the rights of gig economy workers (an estimated 5.5m people in the UK), affecting companies such as Deliveroo.
Paul Jennings, partner at Bates Wells, who represented the claimants said: “James and Yaseen have shown extraordinary courage and resilience. They have been pitted against a multi-billion dollar company in litigation that has lasted half a decade and they have succeeded. Their success will have an enormously beneficial impact, which will be felt across the entire gig economy.
“The Supreme Court’s Judgment is a clear and powerful restatement of the importance of basic employment protections. It will shape all future cases concerning the gig economy.”
He added: “The ruling strikes at the heart of Uber’s business model. We anticipate there will be a significant class action against Uber. As a business, it will need to reflect very carefully on the implications of the Judgement.”