21 December 2018 at 08:43 BST

Uber is three strikes but not out in London

Taxi company Uber has lost its third case in three years as the Court of Appeal criticises its 'complex and artificial' employment contractual arrangements but it will appeal the decision.


In the latest round of its battle, Uber v Aslam, Farrar & Ors, the court said drivers should be entitled to rights including holiday pay, minimum wage and entitlement to breaks. The judgment described the drivers as operating under ‘complex and artificial contractual arrangements’.  It went on to say that the contracts were ‘no doubt formulated by a battery of lawyers, unilaterally drawn up and dictated by Uber to tens of thousands of drivers and passengers, not one of whom is in a position to correct or otherwise resist the contractual language.'  It concluded:  ‘we see no reason to disagree with the factual conclusions of the ET as to the working relationship between Uber and the drivers, but we consider that the ET was plainly correct.’


The three judges were split. Lord Justice Underhill found in favour of Uber while Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Justice Bean found in favour of the drivers. In his finding, Underhill wrote ‘it still seems to me that the relationship argued for by Uber is neither unrealistic nor artificial. On the contrary, it is in accordance with a well-recognised model for relationships in the private hire car business.’

Supreme Court appeal

An Uber spokesperson noted: ’This decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app. Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed. Drivers who use the Uber app make more than the London Living Wage and want to keep the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive.’ It is Uber’s third legal defeat on the issue in three years following decisions from the employment tribunal (ET) and employment appeal tribunal. The case will now be appealed in the Supreme Court. Uber was challenged by two drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who argued they should be entitled to worker’s rights.


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