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  • Writer's picturePhilip Ammerman


I read the news that the UK Supreme Court ruled against Uber's labour contracts with satisfaction:

The UK supreme court has dismissed Uber’s appeal against a landmark employment tribunal ruling that its drivers should be classed as workers with access to the minimum wage and paid holidays.

Six justices handed down a unanimous decision backing the October 2016 employment tribunal ruling that could affect millions of workers in the gig economy. The supreme court said any attempt by organisations to draft artificial contracts intended to side-step basic protections were void and unenforceable.

Judges criticised the controversial contracts Uber asked their drivers to sign, saying they “can be seen to have as their object precluding a driver from claiming rights conferred on workers by the applicable legislation”.

It is long past time that low-paid, unprotected workers working for tech giants with tens of billions of valuation receive proper protection under the law. This includes Amazon, Uber, Deliveroo and tens of other companies that have seen fit to extend minimum wage or below-minimum wage offers and zero hour contracts to their staff.

The contrast between the working poverty encountered by the front-line workers critical to the service and the billion or trillion dollar valuations enjoyed by fickle founders is too large to ignore.

Moreover, requiring "standard" companies like DHL, or high street taxis, or licensed hotels, or equivalent sectors to extend full labour and safety protection while allowed the tech giants like Airbnb or Uber to get away with almost zero regulatory compliance is unfair.

Fair is as fair does.

The Guardian. 19 February 2021

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