The EAT has handed down its judgment in the appeal brought by Uber against the decision of the Employment Tribunal that its drivers are ‘workers’ for the purposes of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (NMWA) and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).
The EAT has dismissed the appeal, confirming the trend of recent decisions on this subject which include Addison Lee, the Pimlico Plumbers’ and CitySprint cases.
In its decision the EAT rejects Uber’s argument that they are a technology platform rather than a service provider who provides transport services. The EAT specifically approved the Tribunal’s finding that the drivers were workers for the purposes of the NMWA and the WTR for the period of time that they were logged into the Uber app and logged as ready and willing to accept assignments.
There is no news yet as to whether Uber will appeal against this decision but, in any event, today’s judgment will not be the end of the story. The Pimlico Plumbers’ case is due to be heard in the Supreme Court early next year and that decision, together with any appeals in the Addison Lee and Uber cases, may determine the future of the gig economy as we know it. It’s conceivable that any appeal in Uber could be joined with the Pimlico Plumbers case in the Supreme Court, we will keep you updated.
The recent Taylor Review into working practices focused on the gig economy and recognised the importance of innovation in the future world of work stating “Technological change will impact work and types of employment and we need to be able to adapt, but technology can also offer new opportunities for smarter regulation, more flexible entitlements and new ways for people to organise”. Innovative, technology based businesses create work and an excellent customer experience. In a post-Brexit environment where growth will be more important than ever, it is essential that a balance is found so that innovative companies can flourish and workers are protected.
We will provide further updates as we get them but if you have any questions in relation to this blog please Get In Touch