Lawyers representing Uber drivers in the claim brought by the GMB trade union against the San Francisco taxi hailing company are hopeful of positive change at Uber after a number of senior personnel changes, including Travis Kalanick’s resignation of his position as CEO.
Uber driver members of the GMB, represented by law firm Leigh Day, are bringing a claim at the employment tribunal against Uber that they are workers for the company and therefore entitled to paid holiday and to receive at least the minimum wage.
The GMB union was successful at the first stage of the proceedings after an employment tribunal ruled last October that the drivers are workers and that Uber was wrongly classifying them as self-employed independent contractors.
Uber has appealed against the judgment, with the appeal due to be heard at the end of September this year. In the meantime, it has not accepted the findings and continues to deny its drivers workers’ rights according to Nigel Mackay, the solicitor acting for the GMB drivers from law firm Leigh Day.
Mr Mackay said:
"Following the resignation of Mr Kalanick as CEO and the departure of a number of other senior executives at Uber, we hope that the introduction of a new management team will bring with it a change in direction for Uber and its attitudes towards those who work for it.
"In particular, instead of continuing to deny drivers' their rights, we hope that Uber accepts the employment tribunal's ruling that the drivers are workers and provides the drivers with the benefits they are entitled to.
"Whoever replaces Mr Kalanick as CEO has an opportunity to start with a clean slate, including making sure Uber complies with the rules of the countries it operates in. In the UK, this means giving its drivers workers' rights.”
Justin Bowden, GMB National secretary, said:
"GMB welcomes the news that Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber.
"This sensible decision by Uber's investors must signal an end to a shocking culture of exploitation and low pay by Uber.
"Perhaps now they will employ someone who knows how to run a taxi company and treats drivers as what they are: staff members and their most valuable asset."