The GMB union has accused Uber of misleading its drivers by claiming final week’s tribunal choice on working circumstances solely impacts two drivers concerned within the case.
In an extended-awaited judgment, an employment tribunal agreed with two drivers for the experience-hailing app that Uber’s drivers were not self-employed and should receive the “national living wage”, annual leave and other benefits. Uber has stated it’ll attraction towards the judgment.
James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam introduced the case on behalf of a gaggle 19 Uber staff who argued they have been employed by the San Francisco-based firm and never working for themselves. Lawyers stated the victory would have an effect on their fellow Uber drivers and have implications for tens of thousands of workers within the so-referred to as gig financial system.
But the GMB stated Uber despatched an e-mail to its 40,000 drivers on Friday, signed by its regional common supervisor for northern Europe, Jo Bertram, who was criticised by the tribunal judges for utilizing “twisted language” and for being “grimly loyal” to her firm.
Bertram’s e mail to the drivers stated: “As you could remember, earlier this yr a small variety of London partner-drivers introduced a declare to problem their self-employed standing with Uber. Although we’ve immediately heard that this problem has been profitable at this primary stage, it’s essential to notice that at the moment’s determination solely impacts two people and Uber might be interesting it.
“There will be no change to your partnership with Uber in light of this decision and we will continue to support the overwhelming majority of drivers who tell us that they use the Uber app to be their own boss and choose when and where to drive.”
The tribunal judges dismissed Uber’s declare that its London operation was a mosaic of hundreds of small companies linked by a know-how platform as “faintly ridiculous”. They stated Uber resorted to “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology” to painting their drivers as self-employed.
In their judgment, the tribunal judges singled out Bertram for criticism and quoted from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to forged doubt on her testimony.
“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.’”
Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director, stated: “Even after the judge found Ms Bertram’s evidence lacked credibility and described her as ‘grimly loyal’, she continues to try and advance a misleading and false set of facts. The Uber judgment applies to 40,000 UK drivers, not two. Ms Bertram might be wise to think how this judgment reflects on her before she issues any more statements.”
Uber will take the case to the employment attraction tribunal, and following its determination there might be additional hearings within the courtroom of attraction after which the supreme courtroom. Any funds as a consequence of drivers won’t be calculated till that course of is over.
Other drivers with the agency won’t mechanically obtain payouts however, if the corporate accepts the ruling, it should change its contracts to keep away from extra instances being introduced by drivers. Lawyers say that Uber’s phrases and circumstances are comparable for all of its UK operatives.
GMB additionally rejected Uber’s declare that its drivers earned a mean £16 an hour and that the majority needed to maintain the pliability their present contracts present.
Ludkin stated: “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.”
Meanwhile different instances are more likely to comply with the Uber judgment. Cycle couriers are making comparable claims towards companies together with CitySprint, Addison Lee, eCourier and Excel. Law companies are additionally speaking to staff at Deliveroo, which delivers meals by cycle and motorcycle.
An Uber spokesman stated: “The ruling would affect the two drivers that were the test cases in the tribunal. However, while we appeal this judgement drivers that use the Uber app remain independent and able to choose when and where they drive.”