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Motoring Law

Taxi-booking firm Uber is facing legal action in the UK. The company operates a car hire smartphone app that connects passengers to drivers, passengers pay Uber for the journey Uber then passes on a percentage of that payment to the driver.

The case is being brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of the GMB union. Leigh Day’s lawyers claim Uber’s contract terms breach of UK employment law, also that there are serious health and safety issues.

The firm alleged Uber does not ensure its drivers take rest breaks or work a maximum number of hours per week.
They argue this provides a substantial risk to all road users given that, according to Uber’s chief executive there will be 42,000 Uber drivers in London by 2016.

Leigh Day added there had been reports of drivers being suspended or deactivated by Uber after having made complaints about unlawful treatment, without being given any opportunity to challenge the claims. The law requires that workers should not be denied the right to work for raising such issues.

A successful legal action against Uber could see substantial pay – outs for drivers, including compensation for past failures by the company to make appropriate payments to what lawyers argue are their workers.
Nigel Mackay a lawyer in the employment team at Leigh Day said: “Uber not only pays the drivers but it also effectively controls how much passengers are charged and requires drivers to follow particular routes. As well as this, it uses a ratings system to assess drivers’ performance.

“We believe that it’s clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers. In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave,” he added.

If you regularly use the same contractors to provide services to your business, they are likely to have acquired a number of worker rights and may even be considered full employees with your business facing a hefty bill for back payments of employer’s NICs.

If you think your business may be affected, get in touch with one of our team.

Ralli’s employment solicitors in Manchester and London offer expert legal advice and guidance to businesses on all aspects of employment law from staff engagement through to discrimination, dismissal and protected rights on sale of a business.