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17th Mar 2021

Uber to introduce holiday pay and pensions for UK drivers after court defeat

Danny Jones

This comes after the Supreme Court ruled UK Uber drivers as ‘workers’ and, therefore, entitled to basic workers rights

Uber has been engaged in a discussion surrounding the classification of its drivers around the world for some time now. Last year, court cases were held to settle the same issue in both France and California; the former judging them to be employees while the latter managed to avoid the decision after a public ballot deemed them independent contractors.

In the UK, things are a little bit different. You can be classed as either an employee, self-employed, or a worker – the slightly trickier classification that has drummed up so much debate. The EU are also now considering bringing in further regulations to protect those who fall into this uncertain middle-ground in the gig economy.

After this most recent ruling, it has been confirmed that UK Uber drivers will be designated worker status. This means, at the very least, guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions for more than 70,000 drivers as of Wednesday.

The case was settled last month and ensures that drivers still get paid when they are on the clock, not just between the time they accept a trip and complete the journey. Newly classified Uber ‘workers’ over the age of 25 will earn £8.72 an hour and will still enjoy the flexibility to work when they choose.

Uber’s Northern and Eastern Europe boss, Jamie Heywood said: “We hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives.”

Meanwhile, National Officer for Union GMB, Mick Rix, said “It’s a shame it took GMB winning four court battles to make them see sense, but we got there in the end and ultimately that’s a big win for our members.” He also encouraged other gig economy businesses to take note and seek the same assurances.

This is just the latest battle in a five-year war with the courts that despite being forced, as CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says, has shown the company’s “willingness to change”. It is worth noting that Uber Eats drivers/riders have not yet been included in this decision, despite providing an adjacent and highly valuable service during lockdown.

Having become an international campaign, the proceedings have cost Uber hundreds of millions already. Here’s hoping no more time nor money need be wasted to continue doing the right thing for the drivers and delivery workers.