Uber Technologies Inc., the renowned American ride hailing company, has reportedly been accused of attempting to discourage its drivers from asking for compensation for minimum wage payments as well as missed holiday following a landmark court ruling.
The ride hailing app might have to pay more than £100 million to around 10,000 drivers involved in cases related to a ruling by the UK supreme court on Friday that said they should be categorized as workers. The firm had earlier argued that its 60,000 drivers in UK are independent self-employed contractors with no entitlement to any holiday pay, national minimum wage, or a company pension.
The case started when two drivers, Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, sued Uber on behalf of a group comprising of nearly 23 others.
Regional general manager, Northern and Eastern Europe at Uber, Jamie Heywood, in a message addressed to company drivers following the court’s decision, stated that after the court’s ruling, a small group of drivers from 2016 could be classified as workers, however this ruling does not apply to drivers who are earning on the Uber app today.
Heywood added that the firm had made some noteworthy changes to its business over the past few years. This includes giving drivers more control over their incomes and introducing new protections such as free insurance in the event of injury or sickness.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the case applicants argue that this statement made by Heywood was misleading.
Nigel Mackay, partner at leading law firm Leigh Day, who is representing around 2,200 drivers, stated that there is no way they could say that ‘this does not apply’ with confidence. To put forward the notion that the changes it has made in recent times have had any impact on the findings of the supreme court is misleading.
The law firm believes that the drivers owed around £12,000 in compensation each, which is likely to cost the taxi-hailing app approximately £26 million.
However, one of the sources from Uber refuted the claim that Heywood’s statement had misinformed drivers or was intended to dissuade them from seeking compensation.