Uber is set to fight a landmark ruling that said its drivers must be given basic workers’ rights.
In October, drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam went to an employment tribunal saying they should be classed as workers, with access to the minimum wage, sick pay and paid holiday.
They won the case but the taxi-hailing app will today begin a two-day appeal against the ruling.
The appeal comes at a time when the firm is under pressure, battling TFL over its decision to strip it of its right to operate in London on the grounds it is “not fit and proper”.
The company previously argued that it was just a platform not an employer.
But judges disagreed, saying: “The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous.
“Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers… They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.”
Uber spokesperson Fred Jones told Sky News: “This case involves just two drivers, both of whom don’t drive on the app anymore in London.
“What we see in polling is that drivers overwhelmingly want to be self employed.”
Image: Uber spokesman Fred Jones says the two drivers have left the company
Jason Moyer Lee, general secretary of IWGB union, which is helping to challenge Uber, said the final ruling could set a precedent affecting millions of other workers.
“Out of all the companies in the so-called gig economy Uber is probably the one with the biggest stomach for the fight.
“So if Uber keeps losing you’re going to have smaller companies in the so-called gig economy accept that the lay of the land is worker status for these people.
“If we win enough of these cases, the companies will stop fighting and will give the minimum wage and holidays and pensions from day one.”
Garry Barone and Conrad Dalphinis both drive for Uber but have very different views of their role.
Mr Barone agreed with Uber, saying: “It’s very attractive to be self employed.
“Many of the drivers have more than one job.
“The attraction to Uber is because of that status, so had it not been self employed I don’t think I’d have been interested.”
But Mr Dalphinis disagreed, claiming the company has too much power for workers to be classed as self employed.
He said: “Because of the way we are working with Uber I’d like sick pay and holiday pay.
“I haven’t had a holiday for years now.”
It could be months before the appeal ruling is announced, which will only add to the uncertainty already being faced by thousands of drivers.