Uber taxi and mobile phone in London

Taxi hailing app firm Uber has lost an appeal against a court decision to class drivers as employees rather than self-employed contractors.

In a tribunal last year, it was decided that two drivers were entitled to many of the benefits employees would expect, including paid breaks, the National Living Wage and holiday pay.

Today’s appeal resulted in the original decision being upheld. Uber has already announced that this latest ruling will also be appealed. The case will now go either to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

In London alone it is estimated that there are up to 40,000 Uber drivers, so this news has massive implications — both for the company and the UK’s taxi industry.

Uver’s UK General Manager Tom Elvidge said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed.

“The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive and so we intend to appeal.”

Many will take the view that Elvidge has a point. How can taxi drivers working for private hire firms — many of which use apps for their services — be regarded as self-employed when Uber drivers aren’t?

It is clear that there is an inherent distrust and dislike of Uber in the UK. Large sections of the Left and all of the trade unions have had it in for the company since day one.

If Uber loses its final appeal, there is a very good chance that they’ll cease operations in Britain. Those 40,000 London drivers will be without an income, and we’ll all have to put up with inflated black cab costs.

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