Here’s what was said
The trouble for Uber does not seem to end. Within a week of Transport for London (TfL) suspending its license to operate in the city, an employment appeal tribunal has now asked the company to give two British drivers the right to more benefits.
Two British drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, had successfully argued at an employment appeal tribunal last year in October that Uber exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand taxi service and had responsibilities in terms of workers’ rights such as holiday pay and minimum wage.
The San Francisco-based company is now appealing against this decision.
At the two-day appeal hearing which started yesterday, Uber has said that its drivers were self-employed (an argument used by traditional taxi operators) and it is not their employer. “The position of drivers who use the App is materially identical to the (familiar and long-established) position of self-employed private hire drivers who operate under the auspices of traditional minicab firms,” Uber had said in its court submission.
Fighting back today, a lawyer representing the Uber drivers told the court that Uber is wrong to try and classify itself as a driver’s “agent” in the UK as “there is no document in which drivers appoint Uber as their agent”.
Uber has always maintained that drivers who use its platform are independent contractors. It presents itself as a technology platform, connecting riders and drivers and taking a fee in the process.