Uber has been granted an appeal against a landmark ruling that declared its drivers qualify for basic employment rights. The ride-hailing app will seek to overturn last year’s ruling, which was seen as a major blow for gig economy companies, at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in September. In October a London tribunal ruled that Uber drivers are workers, and therefore deserve rights such as holiday pay and the national minimum wage. Uber has always maintained that drivers, which set their own hours and must provide their own car and fuel, are self-employed, with the app merely a platform for linking drivers and passengers. Last September’s ruling, sought by two drivers supported by the GMB Union, was seen as a major blow to Uber, whose business model relies on treating drivers as self-employed. It was also seen as having wider implications for the gig economy, in which workers rent out their time instead of being treated as employees. An Uber spokesman said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers in the UK have been self-employed for decades and with Uber they have more control over what they do. Licensed drivers who use our app are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts, minimum hours or uniforms.
“The vast majority of drivers who use Uber tell us they want to remain their own boss as that’s the main reason why they signed up to us in the first place.” More than 40,000 people in the UK drive for Uber, which allows passengers to order a licensed car with a smartphone app. The company says that drivers are free to work other jobs and have no minimum hours, and that last year the average driver made £15 an hour after Uber’s charge on journeys.