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Uber Loses London License Over UK Employment Rights Lawsuit

Uber – the multi-billion dollar car booking company lost its license to operate in London after a tribunal ruled in favor of the two drivers that had filed a case against the company and Transport for London decided not to renew its license.

Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar filed a case against the company nearly two years ago stating that they should be entitled to minimum wages and holiday pay as they were Uber employees.

Uber has over 40,000 drives in London and treats them as self-employed consultants instead of employees.

The company has spent millions of dollars in the last couple of years to fight the case and avoid paying minimum wage in the UK. The company has argued that it only provides a car app service that allows drivers to connect with customers who want a ride and does not employ any of these drivers directly.

BBC News

A three person tribunal panel looked into the case and Judge Anthony Snelon did not agree with Uber’s argument and was severe in his criticism. In a statement, Judge Snelon said

The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous. It is, in our opinion, unreal to deny that Uber is in business as a supplier of transportation services

Transport for London decided last week not to renew Uber’s license and Uber has decided to appeal the ruling and fight back. The company has already sent out an email petition to its Uber app users asking them to fight for the livelihood of 40,000 drivers. Uber has also hired the services of Dinah Rose QC who has represented the WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in the past.

Uber released a statement which said that the majority of drivers preferred to remain as independent contractors and as a result, they would present a strong case and prepare for the hearing which will take place this week. Dinah Rose QC believes that the tribunal hearing erred in law and was inconsistent with its findings.

However employment lawyers in the UK state that it will be a difficult task for Uber to get the courts to overturn its decision. There are two categories of employment statuses in the UK which are ‘workers’ and ‘employees’. Both categories are eligible for minimum wage and holiday pay but only employees have the right to sue for unfair dismissal.

If Uber ends up losing its appeal, it could face similar lawsuits in different countries across the world.

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