GMB Claim That Uber Drivers Are Workers Entitled To Rights At Work Lodged In The London Employment Tribunal
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 says GMB.
A claim on behalf of GMB members working for the taxi hailing app Uber, will be issued tomorrow Thursday 29th October 2015 at the London Central Employment Tribunal on behalf of drivers who claim the ride sharing enterprise does not provide them with basic workers’ rights. See Notes to Editors for copy of the GMB press release dated 29th July 2015 on the matter.
Elly Baker, GMB National Officer said, “The first four claims being brought on behalf of GMB members working for Uber will be issued Thursday 29th October 2015. It claims that Uber drivers are workers, that there is a failure by Uber to pay their drivers a national minimum wage or provide any form of holiday pay.
Further claims will be issued on behalf of GMB member drivers in the coming weeks and asking the Employment Tribunal to hear all of the claims together.
Uber frequently deducts sums from its drivers’ pay, without telling them in advance, including where customers make complaints.
It also alleges that one claimant’s contract was terminated after he highlighted how easy it was for drivers to upload false insurance documents to Uber, demonstrating serious concerns about the company’s procedure for checking the documents provided by drivers.
Steve Garelick, GMB Professional Drivers Branch Secretary, said “Despite our best efforts Uber are continuing to ignore drivers’ needs.
They have now forced a contract on drivers who are no longer partners but customers and are failing to cap driver intake further eroding the facility to earn a reasonable income.
Drivers have little interaction with management who’s preference is to respond on a message based ticket system.
This shows disdain for the drivers. GMB hope more drivers will approach us for this remarkable action.”
Nigel Mackay a lawyer in the employment team at Leigh Day who is representing the drivers explained: “We understand that this will be the first time legal proceedings against Uber have been issued in the UK employment tribunals.
We believe that Uber owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other company does to its workers. Uber drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave.
Uber drivers should be protected from detrimental treatment if they raise serious concerns about unlawful activity. They should be able to work without fear of discrimination.
Uber exerts significant amounts of control over its drivers in order to provide a particular offering to the public, which it sees as differentiating itself from other taxi services. 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.”
Contact: Elly Baker, GMB National Officer on 07918 768773 or Simon Rush GMB Branch President on 07863 256411 or Steve Garelick GMB Branch Secretary or 07565 456 776, or Michelle Bacon GMB Regional Organiser on 07961 709680 or GMB press office on 07974 251 823
For Leigh Day David Standard 07540 332717 or Nigel Mackay on 020 7650 1155
Notes to Editors:
1 GMB press release from Wednesday 29th July 2015
Leigh Day Legal Action For GMB Uber Drivers To Secure Rights On Pay, Holidays, Health And Safety, Discipline And Grievances
The Uber assertion that drivers are “partners” who are not entitled to rights at work normally afforded to workers will be legally contested in court says GMB
GMB, the union for professional drivers, has instructed Leigh Day to take legal action in the UK on behalf of members driving for Uber on the grounds that Uber is in breach of a legal duty to provide them with basic rights on pay, holidays, health and safety and on discipline and grievances.
GMB is contesting the Uber assertion that drivers are “partners” so are not entitled to rights normally afforded to workers.
Uber operates a car hire platform that connects passengers to thousands of drivers through an app on the passenger’s smartphone.
Using the app, passengers can request they are picked up from any location within London (or 300 other cities worldwide). Passengers pay Uber for the journey, which then passes on a percentage of that payment to the driver.
GMB claim that Uber should conform to employment law as follows:
· Uber should ensure that its drivers are paid the national minimum wage and that they receive their statutory entitlement to paid holiday. Currently Uber does not ensure these rights for its drivers
· Uber should address serious health and safety issues. Currently Uber does not ensure its drivers take rest breaks or work a maximum number of hours per week. GMB content that this provides a substantial risk to all road users given that, according to Uber’s CEO, there will be 42,000 Uber drivers in London in 2016.
· Uber should adhere to legal standards on discipline and grievances. Currently drivers have being suspended or deactivated by Uber after having made complaints about unlawful treatment, without being given any opportunity to challenge this.
Nigel Mackay, a lawyer in the employment team at Leigh Day, said “The Uber assertion that drivers are “partners” who are not entitled to rights at work normally afforded to workers is being contested.
Uber not only pays the drivers but it also effectively controls how much passengers are charged and requires drivers to follow particular routes. As well as this, it uses a ratings system to assess drivers’ performance.
We believe that it’s clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers. In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave.
Uber should also take responsibility for its drivers, making sure they take regular rest breaks.
If Uber wishes to operate in this way, and to reap the substantial benefits, then it must acknowledge its responsibilities towards its drivers and the public.
A successful legal action against Uber could see substantial pay outs for drivers, including compensation for past failures by the company to make appropriate payments to who we argue are their workers.”
Steve Garelick, Branch Secretary of GMB Professional Drivers Branch, said “The need for a union to defend working drivers’ rights has become an imperative.
Operators like Uber must understand that they have an ethical and social policy that matches societies’ expectations of fair and honest treatment.
For far too long the public have considered drivers as almost ‘ghosts”. They are not seen as educated or with the same needs, aspirations and desires as the rest of the public.”