The two drivers claim Uber is acting unlawfully by not offering sick and holiday pay
Two drivers for the cab hire service Uber, have taken the company to a London employment tribunal, claiming they are acting unlawfully by not offering sick and holiday pay.
Around 2 million Londoners use Uber, which enables a customer to book and pay for a cab via a smartphone app.
The case revolves around whether the two UK drivers are considered workers, or as Uber contends, self-employed, as the two legal definitions grant different employment rights.
Uber workers do have rights similar to employees, they are protected from unlawful deductions, entitled to holiday pay and also might be entitled to sick pay.
For the company, it will be the first time they have had to deal with legal action in the UK, as to whether their Uber drivers are self-employed or workers.
Both cases are being brought by the law firm, Leigh Day, who are acting on behalf of the GMB Union and the outcome will decide an additional seventeen claims against the company.
The Union argues that Uber doesn’t make sure that their drivers are paid the minimum wage, or whether they receive holiday pay and that the drivers do not get the same rights as employees, claiming that they are classed as ‘partners’ instead.
The two drivers involved in this test case are named as Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar.
The company has always upheld that their drivers are self-employed, so can work as much, or as little, as they would like.
Mr Justin Bowden, national secretary of the GMB Union, who spoke to the BBC, said that the GMB Union wanted to make sure that Uber drivers were given the same employment rights as employees.
He added: “You either have employment laws that people have to follow or you don’t.”
In this particular case, the real argument is whether the UK drivers who earn money through the app, are employees or self-employed.
If the two drivers see a favourable outcome at the employment tribunal, this could lead to many more coming forward, something that could change the company’s dependence on those it regards as self-employed.
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Energy firm will appeal the employment tribunal’s ruling on holiday pay
British Gas has announced it will be appealing the ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which decided that employers should take commission into account when paying employee holiday pay.
A former British Gas employee, Joe Lock, brought a case against his energy firm employer when he noticed that he was receiving only basic pay for the weeks when he took annual leave. Mr Lock complained that he was therefore being penalised for taking annual leave, as commission made up a significant percentage of his salary.
The case was brought before the Employment Law Tribunal who sought the advice of the European Court of Justice. It recommended that commission should be calculated as part of an employee’s holiday pay. Predictably, British Gas appealed this decision, but an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the decision would stand.
British Gas will now appeal to the Court of Appeal; if this is rejected a tribunal will convene to decide how much compensation Mr Lock will receive from his former employer. However, experts from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors expect the appeal to be granted.
Lucy Lindstrom, head of employment law at British Gas, commented: “We have requested permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal so that there can be a definitive ruling on this issue.”
If the final appeal is rejected or the appeal tribunal rule against British Gas for a third time, it could result in thousands of workers across the nation claiming losses from commission pay that they never received during annual leave.
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