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UBER DRIVERS ARE EMPLOYEES, NOT INDEPENDENT
CONTRACTORS: UK SUPREME COURT.
In a ruling that could have ramifications in several countries, including India, the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers are “workers” and not independent contractors.
According to the ruling, the drivers of the app-based taxi service provider are entitled to benefits such as minimum wages, paid holidays, etc.
The UK Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in the Uber BV and others v. Aslam and others case ended the five-year-old legal battle in favor of the drivers.
The appeal in this case concerned the employment status of private motorists who provide their services through the Uber smartphone application Uber app.
The main question raised during the appeal was whether an Uber driver is an “employee” under labor laws and is entitled to the national minimum wage, annual paid leave and other benefits.
Earlier, the labor court found that respondents worked for Uber London on the basis of employee contracts. The Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal rejected by a majority
After that, Uber preferred to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Uber’s main claim was that when a ride is booked through the Uber app, it creates a contract directly between the driver and passenger whereby the driver agrees to provide transportation services to the passenger. The fare is calculated by the Uber app and paid by the passenger to Uber BV, who withholds a portion (in these cases 20%) and pays the balance to the driver.
Uber characterizes this process as collecting payment on behalf of the driver and charging the driver a “service fee” to use its technology and other services. Uber had also emphasized that drivers were free to work when they wanted and as much or as little as they wanted.
In summary, Uber argued that drivers are independent contractors who work under contracts entered into with customers and do not work for the company.
HIGH COURT HAD THAT:
The Supreme Court noted that the transportation service performed by drivers and offered to passengers through the Uber app is very strictly defined and controlled by Uber. Drivers are in such a subordinate and dependent position vis-à-vis Uber that they are not or hardly able to improve their economic position through professional or entrepreneurial skills.
In practice, they can only increase their earnings by working more hours while consistently meeting Uber’s performance metrics. “The drivers were rightfully found to be workers,” it concluded, rejecting Uber’s appeal.
CONCLUSION: In another case, Uber drivers are employees rather than independent contractors and are entitled to more employee rights, a Dutch court ruled. It is the latest court victory for unions fighting for workers’ rights in the gig economy after a similar decision in Britain.
The Amsterdam court sided with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions, which had argued that Uber drivers are in fact employees of a taxi company and should receive the same pay and benefits as other employees in the sector.
The above rulings of foreign Apex courts help Uber drivers and their unions in India to demand better services from the company and the company will treat them as its employees and they are eligible for all the benefits available to employees of the UBER .
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