Uber’s announcement that it will now treat all of its 70,000 UK drivers as workers, with ‘at least’ the minimum wage and holiday and pension rights has been hailed as the 'end of the road for bogus self-employment’.
The company acknowledged that its decision follows the recent UK Supreme Court ruling, ‘which provides a clearer path forward as to a model that gives drivers the rights of worker status—while continuing to let them work flexibly’.
It said that being a worker is a classification that is unique under UK employment law and that workers are not employees but are entitled to the minimum wage (National Living Wage), holiday pay and a pension.
Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: ‘This is an important day for drivers in the UK. Uber drivers will receive an earnings guarantee, holiday pay and a pension, and will retain the flexibility they currently value.
‘Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives.'
The GMB union said Uber had ‘finally done the right thing after losing four court battles’.
National Officer Mick Rix said: ‘Uber had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do the right thing, but finally they’ve agreed to follow the ruling of the courts and treat their drivers as workers. It’s a shame it took GMB winning four court battles to make them see sense, but we got there in the end and ultimately that’s a big win for our members.
‘GMB has consistently said we are willing to speak face to face to Uber about its treatment of drivers - our door remains open. Other gig economy companies should take note - this is the end of the road for bogus self-employment.’
Kate Hindmarch, partner in Employment Law at Langleys Solicitors, called the announcement ‘momentous’ and said it ‘will be a real turning point for the nearly five million UK workers that are engaged in the gig economy’.
She added: ‘The employment tribunal decision that went on to be confirmed by the Supreme Court has shone a spotlight on the practice of creating legally vague arrangements in order to avoid the “workers” classification and in turn avoid liability to these workers.’