Self-employed drivers are ‘work of fiction’

The outcome of a landmark employment tribunal in London – that has ruled that Uber drivers should be classed as employees and are not self-employed – has ramifications for the coach and bus industry.

Recent debate in the PSV industry has made it clear that only those employed by agencies can be treated as ‘self-employed’.

The argument is that due to the nature of the work, and the equipment supplied, there can be no such thing as a self-employed coach or bus driver.

Two Uber drivers claimed the company was acting unlawfully by not paying holiday or sick pay. Uber insists its drivers are self-employed and says it will appeal.

The drivers successfully argued that Uber controlled their actions, so in effect the firm employed them.

Once a driver accepts a job they are notified of the destination, and face measures if they don't perform well enough, for example, following a customer complaint.

A further 17 claims have been brought against Uber.

Uber argues that its drivers can “become their own boss” and doesn’t set shifts, minimum hours, or make drivers work exclusively for Uber.

Nigel Mackay of law firm Leigh Day, which represented the two drivers, said: “This is a ground-breaking decision that will impact all workers whose employers wrongly classify them as self-employed.”

The Department for Business says: “We are keen to ensure employment rules keep up to date to reflect new ways of working and that’s why the government has asked Matthew Taylor to conduct an independent review into modern working practices.”