London: Ride-sharing cab service Uber on Friday lost a British tribunal case brought by drivers demanding basic workers’ rights, in a decision that could affect thousands of workers.
The Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of two drivers who argued that they should receive holiday and sick pay and be paid Britain’s national minimum wage as they were effectively employees of the California-based tech company.
They were supported by the GMB union, who said the decision could have “major” implications for around 30,000 drivers across England and Wales.
“We are delighted that the employment tribunal has found in favour of our clients,” Nigel Mackay from law firm Leigh Day said after the decision.
“This judgment acknowledges the central contribution that Uber’s drivers have made to Uber’s success by confirming that its drivers are not self-employed but that they work for Uber as part of the company’s business.”
Self-employed workers in Britain are not entitled to certain rights and privileges, including paid leave and the minimum wage.
Uber, whose European headquarters is in the Netherlands, argued that British drivers should not be allowed to enforce employment rights in British courts but make their claims in Dutch courts instead.
The cab hire service has been accused of violating employment rights in other countries.
In April 2016, Uber drivers in California and Massachusetts filed a lawsuit against the company claiming they had been misclassified as independent contractors.
But before the trial could begin in California, the company paid USD 100 million (91 million euros) to the drivers to settle the lawsuit.
Uber is a cab service company that connects passengers to drivers through an app on its passengers’ smartphones.
Customers pay Uber directly for the journey and the company, in turn, remunerates drivers.