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Uber Loses Appeal In UK Over Drivers' Employment Rights

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Uber has failed to overturn a UK employment tribunal ruling that orders the ride-sharing company to treat its drivers as formal workers and not self-employed contractors.

An employment tribunal in October found that two drivers working for Uber - Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar - were entitled to receive the minimum wage and holiday pay, among other basic worker rights. The legal case against Uber was brought by Farrar and Aslam.

However, Uber has argued that the drivers who use its platform are self-employed, rather than workers employed directly by the company. Uber said its model was no different to that of traditional minicab firms whose drivers are self-employed.

Judge Jennifer Eady said in Friday's ruling that she was dismissing the Uber appeal.

According to the judge, there was a contract between Uber and the two drivers whereby the drivers personally undertook work for Uber "as part of its business of providing transportation services to passengers in the London area."

Farrar, who is also a union representative for Uber drivers, noted that after commission and operating costs, drivers were earning only 5.68 pounds, or $7.46 per hour, which is 15 percent lower than the U.K. minimum wage.

Uber said it plans to appeal Friday's decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, either through Britain's Court of Appeal or through the Supreme Court.

"Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed. The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal," Tom Elvidge, Uber UK's acting general manager, said in a statement.

by RTT Staff Writer

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