Uber have come under fire after reports emerged revealing that their drivers are owed an estimated £20,000 each – The Guardian reports.
This hefty pay variance is said to be down to Uber refusing to recognise a two-year-old ruling which entitles employees to holiday pay, minimum wage and regular rest breaks.
Challenging the accusations of unfair pay, a spokeswoman for Uber said that that “almost all” private hire and taxi drivers had been “self-employed for decades” prior to the launch of Uber.
Quoting an Oxford University study based on a poll commissioned by Uber – which revealed that its drivers are paid over the London Living Wage - she explained:
“If drivers were classed as workers, they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that come with being their own boss."
Law firm Leigh Day – who have filed numerous law suits against large corporates including Morrisons for unfair treatement of employees – has also taken legal action against Uber, acting for GMB union. The legal action is based on their calculations that the company's 40,000 drivers are owed £11,000 in wages and more than £8,000 in entitled holiday pay.
Despite an abundance of evidence, Uber are continuing to appeal the ruling which was made at an employment tribunal in central London two years ago.
GMB Legal Director, Sue Harris, said in a statement: “These figures lay bare the human cost of Uber continuing to refuse to accept the ruling.
“While the company is wasting money losing appeal after appeal, drivers are up to £18,000 out of pocket. That’s thousands of drivers struggling to pay their rent or feed their families. It’s time Uber admits defeat and pays up.
"The company needs to stop wasting money dragging its lost cause through the courts. Instead, Uber should do the decent thing and give drivers the rights to which those courts have said they are legally entitled.”
Since the ruling, Uber has reportedly upped drivers’ control over how they use its app, as well as giving sickness, maternity and paternity protection.
The Uber Spokeswoman explained: “We think the Employment Appeal Tribunal fundamentally misunderstood how we operate.
“The Uber Group [is exposed] to numerous legal and regulatory risks, including the application, interpretation and enforcement of existing regulations … as well as risks related to … the company’s classification of drivers as independent contractors,” she concluded.
Acas say that employees should familiarise themselves with their own rights at work, as well as what their employer should be offering in terms of pay, contracts, time off and working schedules. This will ensure that employees are appealing on the correct grounds for a work-related grievance.