Tech giant Uber has lost another significant court case in a ruling that could have major ramifications for the gig economy around the world.
Ridesharing firm Uber lost its appeal in the UK’s Court of Appeal late last year against a decision that ruled its drivers should be classified as workers and are eligible for the range of associated benefits.
It adds to a growing list of rulings that have found that those working in the gig economy are employees rather than self-employed contractors, meaning they should be paid superannuation, sick leave and minimum wage.
The case began more than two years ago when two Uber drivers went to the Employment Tribunal, where it was ruled that they were workers under the UK’s industrial law.
The Court of Appeal late last year backed this decision.
Uber has already confirmed that it will be taking its appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, much to the chagrin of one of the claimants, James Farrar.
“I am dismayed that implementation of worker status for drivers is further delayed while Uber seeks yet another appeal,” Farrar said following the decision.
“This is nothing more than a cynical ploy to delay inevitable changes to its business model while it pursues a record-breaking $US120 billion stock market flotation.”
British union GMB has estimated that each Uber driver in the country is owed as much as $31,700 (18,000 pounds) in unpaid wages and entitlements.
Uber said that if the decision is again upheld, it would be to the detriment of drivers around the world.
“Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed,” the company said in a statement.
“Drivers who use the Uber app make more than the London living wage and want to keep the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive. If drivers were classified as workers they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss.”
The debate has also recently come to a head in Australia, where the Fair Work Commission recently ruling that Foodora riders should be classified as workers.
The Transport Workers Union is currently on the hunt for a similar test case against UberEATS.