04 November 2016
Leigh Day, the legal firm that assisted GMB in two recent test cases against Uber, has vowed to take further cases before the courts.
Last week, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that drivers – Yasseen Aslam and James Farrar – should be legally classified as workers and therefore entitled to basic working rights such as the minimum wage, sick and holiday pay, and regular breaks. The two test cases were selected out of claims brought by 19 drivers.
The company insists that its workers are self-employed but was highly criticised by the court, which suggested that the company’s argument was based upon “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology”.
Despite this, Uber says it will appeal the decision and has emailed drivers to say their employment relationships with the company will not be changed by the ruling – a claim GMB has described as misleading.
Annie Powell, employment lawyer at Leigh Day Solicitors, told the Guardian there was no limit to how many cases they could take before the courts on behalf of Uber drivers.
“We have received hundreds of inquiries from Uber drivers who are unhappy with their working conditions and are interested in bringing a claim for back pay of holiday pay and back pay of the national minimum wage,” she said.
“We will lodge further employment tribunal claims with the support of the GMB union. It will be exactly the same claim as for the first 19 drivers and we will argue they should be workers rather than self-employed and so should be entitled to workers’ rights.”