THE BLOG
10/11/2017 08:30 GMT | Updated 10/11/2017 08:30 GMT

It's Time Uber Changed Its Ways And Made Things Right - For Drivers And The Public

The company is continuing to drive itself down a cul-de-sac. It's about time it got it's bearings and focused it's efforts on obeying the rules, changing its ways, and really making things right for drivers and the public.

Amr Dalsh / Reuters

Having driven for Uber for some years now, I can comment with some degree of authority over how those on the front-line, the drivers, have fared under the company.

What I've witnessed in my time there led me to join a union and get involved in the battle to win respect for drivers' rights. Hiding behind the shiny facade of the gig economy is no excuse to ride roughshod over rights at work - or compromise public safety.

My trade union GMB secured a landmark legal win at employment tribunal last year. We challenged the company's ludicrous claim that Uber drivers are self-employed. We clearly showed that us Uber drivers are workers - and are therefore entitled to basic rights such as the minimum wage, holiday and sick pay. The judgement couldn't have been clearer - but Uber simply refused to accept it.

Despite all the money the £51 billion San-Francisco transport giant has thrown at this case, not to mention wasting all of our time - our campaign has been vindicated today. This morning the employment tribunal appeal upheld our hard won ruling - that the company's drivers should be classified as workers.

Uber fought tooth and nail to deny drivers us rights to which we are entitled. They lost. Again.

GMB brought the claims on behalf of 25 of its members to the Central London Employment Tribunal in July last year - and it ruled that Uber drivers are entitled to receive holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks. Since then, the number of GMB member claimants has increased to 68.

But this is a landmark case, with implications far beyond that, sending ripples through the gig economy. It's a shot across the bows to platform tech companies and app-based services that no company is above the law. GMB will continue to protect workers' rights and challenge those who seek to undermine them. It's why joining a union fighting for rights at work fit for the 21st century is so important.

Today's ruling is the latest blow for Uber after Transport for London refused to renew their license to operate in London earlier this Autumn. The incoming Uber chief executive then took the extraordinary step of taking out newspaper advert apologising to Londoners and promised to "make things right". Those words should have been followed by action to respect the law, and to protect drivers' rights and public safety.

Instead, reeling from it's latest defeat today, Uber has already indicated it plans to drag it's lost cause to yet another court hearing - wasting everyone's time and money.

The company is continuing to drive itself down a cul-de-sac. It's about time it got it's bearings and focused it's efforts on obeying the rules, changing it's ways, and really making things right for drivers and the public.