Uber driver protest slows London down

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24 Nov 2016

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Uber drivers took to the streets of London yesterday in a protest over the payment of the National Minimum Wage. Unfortunately for them, despite the protest, it looks like they are a long way off benefiting from the minimum wage let alone the 30p rise in the National Living Wage announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond today.

The Employment Tribunal recently decided that Uber drivers were not in business on their own account, and so fell into the category of ‘worker’. They came to this conclusion because, among other things, Uber:
  • interviews and recruits drivers, using an “onboarding” process;
  • fixes the fare and the driver cannot agree a higher sum;
  • imposes numerous conditions on drivers e.g. there is a list of makes and models of cars which Uber will accept; cars cannot be older than 2006; they should preferably be silver or black;
  • subjects drivers to a rating system which amounts to a performance management/disciplinary procedure;
  • accepts the risk of loss which, if the drivers were genuinely in business on their own account, would fall upon them;
  • determines issues about rebates sometimes without involving the driver whose pay is likely to be affected;
  • would have to be the client/customer of the drivers. This was clearly not the case.
Alan Price, CEO at Croner, says: “The Employment Tribunal decision was a seminal case for Uber and other organisations who engage individuals on similar terms. The protest by Uber drivers and the increase in National Living Wage will throw the issue of employment status back into the limelight and we expect a torrent of claims from other industries who operate similar practices.”

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