Uber has lost a long running employment tribunal challenge in the UK’s Supreme Court — with the court dismissing the ride-hailing giant’s appeal and reaffirming earlier rulings that drivers who brought the case are workers, not independent contractors.
The case, which dates back to 2016, has major ramifications for Uber’s business model in the UK — and likely regionally, as similar challenges are ongoing in European courts.
European Union lawmakers are also actively eyeing conditions for gig workers, so policymakers were already facing pressure to clarify the law around gig work — today’s ruling only increases that.
The UK Supreme Court judgement can be found here.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment.
This story is developing… refresh for updates…
In recent days — and likely in anticipation of this verdict — Uber has kicked off a lobbying effort in Europe calling for deregulation of platform work.
Uber argues that without a carve out from employment laws platforms’ hands are tied over how far they can go to offer workers a better deal.
It says it’s pushing for some of the same ‘principles’ that featured in the Prop 22 ballot initiative which ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft spend hundreds of millions of dollars pushing in California, going on to win a carve out for delivery and transport work from employment reclassification there last year.
However, responding to Uber’s EU white paper this week, the academic research group, Fairwork, accused it of downplaying its ability to make changes to improve working conditions on its platform.
Instead, it said the tech giant is trying to legitimize a lower level of protection for platform workers than most European workers benefit from — urging lawmakers to focus on expanding and strengthening employment protections, not watering them down.