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GMB Tribunal For Workers' Rights At Uber

Thursday, July 14, 2016

GMB To Support Test Case Against Uber Over Basic Workers’ Rights

Uber is a multinational, multibillion dollar company and we argue that they are unlawfully denying their drivers fundamental rights says GMB.

GMB, the union for private hire drivers, will support two test cases brought by law firm Leigh Day at the Central London Employment Tribunal next week, which will determine whether Uber is acting unlawfully by not providing drivers with basic workers’ rights.

The tribunal will determine whether Uber drivers should be entitled to receive holiday pay and a guaranteed minimum wage and is the first time that the company will have faced legal action in the UK over whether their drivers are workers or self-employed.

The hearing, which begins on 20th July 2016, will hear cases brought by law firm Leigh Day and supported by GMB which will have an impact on a further 17 claims that have been brought against Uber as well as having wider implications for the tens of thousands of Uber drivers throughout the UK.

Lawyers for the drivers also claim that Uber acts unlawfully by frequently deducting sums from drivers’ pay, often without informing the drivers in advance, including when customers make complaints.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said “GMB is proud to support this claim against Uber that challenges a growing and pernicious practice by companies of wrongly claiming that workers are self-employed.

Uber drivers face very difficult working conditions and with cuts to fares we believe that some of our members are taking home less than the national minimum wage when you take into account the costs of running a car. GMB believes this could pose a safety risk to drivers and the public as some drivers are forced into working longer and longer hours in order to make ends meet and are unable to take any paid holiday.

Uber is a multinational, multibillion dollar company and GMB believes they are unlawfully denying their drivers fundamental rights which are designed to ensure workers can enjoy a minimum standard of living.”

Annie Powell, a lawyer in the employment team at Leigh Day, said “Uber currently denies that its drivers are entitled to the most basic of workers’ rights. Uber’s defence is that it is just a technology company, not a taxi company, and that Uber drivers do not work for Uber but instead work for themselves as self-employed business men and women.

On behalf of our clients we will claim that Uber is wrongly classifying its drivers as self-employed with the result that drivers are denied the rights and protections that Parliament intended them to have.

We will argue that Uber exerts significant control over its drivers in order to provide an on-demand taxi service to the public. If Uber wishes to operate in this way, and to reap the substantial benefits, then it must acknowledge its responsibilities towards those drivers as workers.

This claim is vital for the thousands of Uber drivers who work in England and Wales and has implications even wider than that. We are seeing a creeping erosion of employment rights as companies misclassify their workers as self-employed so as to avoid paying them holiday pay and the national minimum wage.”

End

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or GMB press office on 07970 863411

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