Uber loses latest UK legal bid to block worker rights for drivers
By Costas Pitas LONDON (Reuters) - Uber has lost its latest court bid to stop its British drivers being classified as workers, entitling them to rights such as the minimum wage, in a decision which jeopardises the taxi app's business model. Two drivers successfully argued at a tribunal in 2016 that the Silicon Valley firm exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand service, and that they should cease to be considered as self-employed, which gives few protections in law.
By Costas Pitas
LONDON (Reuters) - Uber has lost its latest court bid to stop its British drivers being classified as workers, entitling them to rights such as the minimum wage, in a decision which jeopardises the taxi app's business model.
Two drivers successfully argued at a tribunal in 2016 that the Silicon Valley firm exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand service, and that they should cease to be considered as self-employed, which gives few protections in law.
An employment appeal tribunal upheld that decision last year, prompting Uber to go to the Court of Appeal. On Wednesday, a majority of judges there said they agreed with the previous verdicts and rejected Uber's arguments.
"They approve the reasoning of the Employment Tribunal, which relied on a number of features of Uber's working arrangements as being inconsistent with the driver having a direct contractual relationship with the passenger," the Court of Appeal said in a summary.
Uber said it would appeal the verdict, meaning the legal process will continue.
"This decision was not unanimous and does not reflect the reasons why the vast majority of drivers choose to use the Uber app," said a spokeswoman.
"We have been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and will do so."
Uber, which could be valued at $120 billion in a flotation, has faced protests, regulatory crackdowns and licence losses around the world as it challenges existing competitors and rapidly expands.
In Britain, the self-employed are entitled to only basic protections such as health and safety, but workers receive the minimum wage, paid holidays and rest breaks. Uber has introduced a number of benefits for drivers this year.
Unions argue that the gig economy - where people often work for various firms at the same time without fixed contracts - is exploitative, whilst Uber says its drivers enjoy the flexibility and on average earn much more than the minimum wage.
Uber says its practices have been widely used for decades in Britain by minicabs, private hire vehicles which cannot be hailed in the street like traditional black taxis.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which backed the two drivers in the case, attacked Uber for appealing court decisions which have gone against the firm.
"It is becoming increasingly ridiculous for so-called 'gig economy' companies to argue that the law is unclear when they lose virtually every tribunal and court case," said General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alistair Smout and Jan Harvey)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.