31 October 2016
After a tribunal decision last week found Uber to be misclassifying its workers as ‘self-employed’, the company has been accused of misleading drivers working for the firm as to the meaning of the outcome.
GMB says an email was sent out by Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, Jo Bertram, to 40,000 drivers stating that the decision only affects James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam – the two cases that were taken to tribunal – according to the Guardian.
In fact, the court’s decision reflects upon the company’s recruitment model as a whole so would affect all drivers working for Uber. The firm has said it intends to appeal the judgement.
On making their ruling, the court criticised Jo Bertram, stating: “Ms Bertram spoke of Uber assisting the drivers to ‘grow’ their businesses, but no driver is in a position to do anything of the kind, unless growing his business simply means spending more hours at the wheel. Reflecting on the case, and on the grimly loyal evidence of Ms Bertram in particular, we cannot help being reminded of Queen Gertrude’s most celebrated line: ‘The lady doth protest too much, methinks'”
The court also accused the firm of using “fictions”, “twisted language” and “brand new terminology” to try and get around correctly classifying drivers as workers.
GMB Legal Director Maria Ludkin said: “This judgment in no way affects driver flexibility, it merely guarantees them basic employment rights. Uber’s decision to appeal that is purely related to protecting their ample profits and nothing to do with protecting the drivers.”
“Ms Bertram might be wise to think how this judgment reflects on her before she issues any more statements,” she added.