Drivers are up to £18,000 ‘out of pocket’ despite being entitled to minimum wage
As Uber challenges a UK court ruling on the employment status of its drivers, a new report is shedding light on how much income drivers have lost amid the legal battle.
GMB, the general union representing Uber drivers, estimates each worker has been losing at least £18,000 (approx. US$23,000) in unpaid remuneration over the past two years while Uber continues to question the decision of the courts.
Uber insists its drivers are “partners” who operate more similarly to gig economy workers or independent contractors, rather than employees.
In 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled Uber drivers held the status of workers who were entitled to minimum wage, holiday pay, and rest breaks.
The ride-hailing service contested the ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal but lost. On Tuesday, it appeared before the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn the decision.
“If drivers were classed as workers, they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that come with being their own boss,” a representative from Uber said.
Uber’s refusal to accept the judgment has been taking a financial toll on drivers, according to GMB.
“While the company are wasting money losing appeal after appeal, their drivers are up to £18,000 out of pocket for the last two years alone,” said Sue Harris, GMB’s legal director.
“That’s thousands of drivers struggling to pay their rent, or feed their families,” Harris said. “It’s time Uber admits defeat and pays up.”
Leigh Day, the legal team representing drivers on behalf of GMB, calculated the two-year losses:
“Uber should do the decent thing and give drivers the rights to which those courts have already said they are legally entitled,” said Harris.