Uber is facing even more legal action, this time from its drivers in the UK.
The BBC reports that GMB, a British trade union with over 700,000 members, is bringing a case against Uber on behalf of its British drivers.
The drivers claim that Uber does not provide its drivers with the rights normally afforded to employees. They say that Uber gets around this by classing them as “partners,” which means the company does not currently ensure its drivers are paid the minimum wage or that they are able to take paid holiday.
Uber has faced criticism in several other markets for classing its drivers as independent contractors rather than full employees. It is already facing a lawsuit in California that could force it to reclassify all its drivers there as employees — an expensive task.
The case is being handled by law firm Leigh Day, the BBC says. The firm’s lawyers claim that Uber’s contract terms are in breach of UK employment law. They also argue that the terms pose serious health and safety issues because Uber does not make sure its drivers take rest breaks or work a maximum number of hours a week.
Leigh Day’s lawyers also referenced reports of Uber drivers being suspended from working for the company for complaining of unlawful treatment, the BBC report added.
This is the first time that Uber has faced legal action in the UK, but black cab drivers have staged protests against the taxi-hailing firm since it started operations there. French taxi drivers also caused complete chaos in Paris last month with a huge protest against the introduction of UberPOP.
A spokesperson for Uber said “One of the main reasons drivers use Uber is because they love being their own boss. As employees, drivers would drive set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and lose the ability to drive elsewhere as well as the personal flexibility they most value. The reality is that drivers use Uber on their own terms: they control their use of the app.”
We have also reached out to Leigh Day for more details.
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