The Supreme Court of England & Wales decided unanimously on Friday that drivers engaged by Uber are classified as workers, in the terms set out by the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The decision means that Uber drivers are entitled to a wide swathe of employment rights, including a minimum wage, sick leave and annual leave, employer pension contributions, the right to seek collective bargaining agreements and more.
Former Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar initially won their case at the Employment Tribunal in 2016, but Uber appealed at every stage. The Supreme Court decision puts an end to the legal saga in the drivers’ favour, after more than six years of courtroom battles.
Calling it a “win-win-win for drivers, passengers, and cities”, Farrar suggested the decision would require Uber to meet its social responsibilities to workers and communities. Echoing his comments, Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell called the decision “massive for all gig economy workers” and demanded that the government step in to uphold the workers’ rights.
A spokesperson for the Green Party Trade Union Group said: “We welcome this unanimous decision.
“Uber has known for a long time that its exploitative business model is predicated on denying its workers the rights they are owed by law. But instead of negotiating a fair and just settlement with its workers and their trade unions, Uber has chosen to wage war on employment rights and avoid its responsibilities altogether.
“The company’s statements this morning make clear that they will continue to attempt to shirk their legal and moral responsibilities, while trying to misinform their workers and push anti-union narratives. We have seen from recent developments worldwide, including California’s damaging Proposition 21 ballot initiative, that platform capitalists will stop at nothing to keep exploiting their workforce. We in turn must stop at nothing to defeat this ongoing exploitation.
“Now the UK government must waste no time in asserting and enforcing the protections to which app-based workers are legally and ethically entitled.”