Uber will launch a nationwide survey of all active Uber drivers who use its app in the country after a groundbreaking UK Supreme Court ruling declared that Uber drivers are ‘workers’ entitled to labour protection like holiday pay.

Uber said in a statement in reaction to the ruling against the firm, that the court’s verdict had not focused on the other UK drivers on the app, apart from the small group who had used the app in 2016 and had gone to court, nor on Uber Eats couriers. It also said that the definition of worker in the UK was different to an employee and that most drivers had indicated that they wanted to remain independent.

“After this small group of drivers went to an employment tribunal, the case wound its way through the courts over the last few years, ultimately ending up before the UK Supreme Court,” Uber said.

Uber drivers are workers not employees

“Worker is a UK specific legal classification and a worker is not an employee. Employee status was not claimed in the litigation and so this ruling does not find the claimants to be employees,” Uber said.

Uber said it had made “significant changes” to its business in recent years and that it had been guided by drivers “every step of the way”.

“Many of the examples called out in the judgement are no longer relevant. For example, drivers now have full transparency over the price and destination of their trip, and since 2017 there has been no repercussion for rejecting multiple consecutive trips,” Uber said.

“Drivers told us that they wanted protections such as free insurance to cover sickness or injury, but not at the cost of flexibility. They want to remain independent, accessing flexible earnings opportunities when they want it, and protection and benefits when they need it. Nearly 90% say that this flexibility is the most important reason they use the Uber app to earn. Self-employment is nothing new to the taxi and private hire industry,” Uber said.

Uber interviewed a driver who shared his views.

What drivers value about the firm

In 2019/20, 83% of all taxi and private hire drivers in England were self-employed, the firm said, and one in four worked part time, a number which has remained broadly stable over the last 10 years.

“At a time when we need more jobs, not fewer, we believe Uber and other platforms can be a bridge to a sustainable economic recovery. We’ve made a lot of progress in recent years, but we know there is more to do. We will now launch a nationwide consultation to seek the views of all active drivers who use our app in the UK. We want to understand what drivers value about Uber and, crucially, where things could improve,” Uber said.

The firm said it would share the outcome of the process in the coming weeks.

READ: Court ruling for Uber drivers strikes heart of ‘gig economy’


Presh JM Reporter

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