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Uber workers’ win gives us a lift

This article is over 5 years, 2 months old
Issue 2528
Uber workers protesting earlier this year
Uber workers protesting earlier this year (Pic: Guy Smallman)

In a welcome judgement, an employment tribunal has ruled in favour of two Uber taxi drivers.

It found they were employed by the company and therefore eligible for rights such as the minimum wage and paid holidays.

Judge Anthony Snelson said, “The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is faintly ridiculous.”

It’s unclear how broadly the ruling will apply. Many workers, particularly in construction, have found that the law provides no protection from bogus self-employment.

But every shred of benefit should be dragged from this ruling.

The case was backed by the GMB union. Every union should now put in its own claims for similar groups, and strongly organise those who are now legally workers.

Some bosses welcomed the decision. Uber is estimated to have saved a great amount of money in national insurance and tax by saying workers were self-employed. Other companies said it gave Uber an unfair advantage.

But neither disputes among bosses, nor the law, can be relied on to deliver workers’ rights.

Instead we need more resistance and rank and file organisation everywhere.

The tribunal and the strikes at UberEats and Deliveroo show that workers can and must fight for their rights to secure jobs and decent pay.

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