In a landmark case over workers’ rights, an employment tribunal has ruled that two drivers for cab-hailing firm Uber are entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and at least the National Minimum Wage. The GMB union which has done much to shine a light on employment conditions at Uber is describing it as a ‘monumental victory’. Uber says it will appeal.
The ruling in favour of the Uber drivers who brought the case paves the way for 40,000 drivers around the UK to be classed as workers – who have basic statutory rights at work – rather than self-employed people. It is a ruling which is also expected to have implications for the rights of tens of thousands of others working for companies employing similar ‘flexible’ business models across the so-called ‘gig economy’ (the likes of Deliveroo, for example).
According to TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, the case had exposed the ‘dark side’ of the UK's labour market.
"For many workers the gig economy is a rigged economy, where bosses can get out of paying the minimum wage and providing basics like paid holidays and rest breaks.
"What is happening at Uber is just the tip of the iceberg. Lots of people are now trapped in insecure jobs, with low pay and no voice at work."
With the government this month announcing plans to get tough on false self-employment, we’re hoping the tide is finally starting to turn in the favour of better pay and conditions for today’s increasingly casualised workforce.