Private hire workers’ rights claimants have warned the right to unionise the gig economy is at stake in their Supreme Court showdown with Uber starting today.
As the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) prepares for the final showdown in a 5-year long battle for worker rights for Uber drivers, the union claims the stakes could not be higher.
In a letter from the Certification Office this month, the regulator has warned the ADCU that it will have its trade union listing revoked if Uber wins at the Supreme Court. This is because the law states that a union “must be wholly or mainly of workers”. Should Uber win at the Supreme Court, Uber drivers would effectively be stripped of the right to organise.
Yaseen Aslam, President of ADCU and lead claimant in Aslam v Uber said: “This is our final showdown with Uber but the stakes could not be higher for everyone. If Uber wins, there will be an unseemly rush by greedy employers to collapse employment as we know it and Uber-ize the entire economy.
“Uber drivers and other gig economy workers would be robbed of the right to unionise. I trust we will prevail but the government and Uber should never have let it come to this.”
In a hearing at the Supreme Court starting today, and expected to last two days, ride-hailing firm Uber will learn whether they must provide its drivers basic workers’ rights which includes holiday pay and the minimum wage for the hours they work.
Legal action is being brought by Uber drivers, represented by law firm Leigh Day, who argue that Uber should provide its drivers with paid holiday and ensure they are paid at least the minimum wage.
In October 2016, the Employment Tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are workers and entitled to workers’ rights.
The ruling was upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in November 2017 and the Court of Appeal in December 2018.
If the drivers succeed at the Supreme Court, the case will then return to the Employment Tribunal which will decide how much compensation drivers are entitled to. Leigh Day believes tens of thousands of Uber drivers could be entitled to an average of £12,000 each in compensation.
Leigh Day were first enlisted by trade union GMB to work the case on behalf of Uber drivers.