GMB union have been granted permission to participate as an interested party in Uber’s appeal against the decision by Transport for London (TfL) not to renew its Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence.
At the hearing yesterday at Westminster Magistrates Court, GMB argued that the court had the power to permit GMB to participate in the proceedings in order to achieve a fair and just resolution to the appeal.
The union argued that it wished to raise evidence on the issue of excessive hours worked by Uber drivers and its impact on public safety, a point that was not going to be raised by TfL but which is relevant to the appeal.
GMB claims that Uber encourages and incentivises drivers to work excessive hours and that its business model puts public safety at serious risk.
TfL adopted a neutral position in relation to the application to intervene. Uber opposed the application on the basis that the magistrates’ court did not have the jurisdiction to allow GMB to participate and that in any event, it should not allow GMB to participate.
The full appeal hearing is due to be held in summer 2018.
In May 2017, law firm Leigh Day, on behalf of GMB, sent a letter before action setting out a proposed judicial review of any decision to renew Uber’s licence. The letter set out certain conditions or regulations which they said would address the safety risk posed by Uber’s business model.
Transport for London made the decision not to renew Uber’s Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence in September 2017, however, the company has been allowed to continue to operate until appeal processes have been exhausted.
In announcing their decision on 22 September TfL said: “TfL has concluded that Uber London Limited is not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence. TfL considers that Uber's approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications.”
Rosa Curling, solicitor from law firm Leigh Day who is acting on behalf of GMB, said:
“We are delighted that the court has agreed to allow GMB the chance to present its evidence on the safety concerns it has regarding Uber drivers in London so that any decision to grant a licence can be made after hearing all the relevant evidence to ensure correct regulations and safeguards for all.”
Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director said:
"GMB is pleased that the court has decided that the evidence from our driver members should be an important contribution to their thinking when deciding whether to uphold Uber's appeal. At last GMB drivers have a real voice."