Workers' rights tribunal decisions and how operators are then complying with those legal rulings, SHOULD be ’reasonably’ considered by licensing authorities, when deciding whether the private hire firm is ’fit and proper’ to hold a licence, says Khan.
The London Mayor, who was responding to a question put forward by Assembly Member David Kurten, highlighted that only the courts can make rulings on employment status within the industry, but did point out the stance that minicab regulators can take if rulings are not being followed in the ’way the law requires’.
The Mayor also pointed out all private hire drivers should be treated fairly and not be expected to work unreasonable hours to earn a liveable wage. He has also campaigned for drivers to be paid the London Living Wage as a minimum.
In November 2019, ride-hailing firm Uber lost its operator’s licence in the capital on the grounds of safety concerns. A decision that the American minicab firm refutes and will appeal later this year.
In the lead up to that decision the GMB union won a hat trick of legal cases against Uber in relation to workers’ rights. In October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB's favour - determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.
Instead of accepting the judgement of the courts, Uber took their case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in November 2017, which ruled against the ride-sharing company. Then in December 2018 the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling again.
Last month this prompted City Hall’s Assembly Member, David Kurten, to ask the London Mayor: “Do you believe that app companies are operating on the wrong side of the employment laws, and if so, how are you going ensure that app companies who Transport for London (TfL) licence are compliant with all laws?”
Recently Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, responded saying: “I’ve always been clear that I believe private hire drivers should be treated fairly, work reasonable hours and be able to earn a decent wage, and I have pushed private hire operators to ensure that drivers are being paid the London Living Wage.
“Driver pay and general working conditions were raised in the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Task and Finish Group on Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle licensing, of which Transport for London (TfL) was an active member. In its response to the Group’s report, the Government made it clear that only the courts can make rulings on employment status.
“The Government did state that the decisions of tribunals and whether an operator concerned is complying with a ruling in the way the law requires, should reasonably be considered by a licensing authority as part of the 'fit and proper' test for a Private Hire Vehicle operator. TfL therefore continues to monitor relevant cases that are decided by the courts.”
Image credit: Greater London Authority