By Chris York
Hundreds of “precarious workers” are expected to take to the streets of London this morning as the Court of Appeal decides whether or not Uber drivers are entitled to paid holiday and the minimum wage.
Couriers, riders, outsourced cleaners, restaurant workers and others will take part as the long-running case will have a profound impact on members of the so-called “gig economy”.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which is involved in the case, said it is expected to be the biggest “precarious workers” march ever held in the UK, the Press Association reports.
The protesters will march to the Royal Courts of Justice, then go to the University of London, where outsourced workers, including cleaners, receptionists and security officers, will be on strike to end outsourcing, before passing NHS contractor The Doctors Laboratory, where medical couriers say their pay has been cut.
A rally will also be held in Glasgow.
The long-running argument over the status of drivers at ride-hailing firm Uber will go before the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
Uber took the case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal last year and lost.
The GMB, which is also involved in the case, said Uber drivers are estimated to be an average of £18,000 out of pocket two years after the ruling.
Sue Harris, the GMB’s legal director, said: “These figures lay bare the human cost of Uber continuing to refuse to accept the ruling of the courts.
“While the company are wasting money losing appeal after appeal, their drivers are up to £18,000 out of pocket for the last two years alone.”
Uber case co-claimant and IWGB United private hire drivers branch chairman James Farrar said: “What is clear from the different kinds of workers supporting us in this demonstration is that unity among precarious workers has never been stronger and together we will defeat the dishonest bosses that are trying to do away with our most basic employment rights.”
An Uber spokesman said: “Almost all taxi and private hire drivers have been self-employed for decades, long before our app existed.
“A recent Oxford University study found that drivers make more than the London living wage and want to keep the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive.
“If drivers were classed as workers they would inevitably lose some of the freedom and flexibility that comes with being their own boss.
“We believe the Employment Appeal Tribunal last year fundamentally misunderstood how we operate. For example, they relied on the assertion that drivers are required to take 80% of trips sent to them when logged into the app, which has never been the case in the UK.
“Over the last two years we’ve made many changes to give drivers even more control over how they use the app, alongside more security through sickness, maternity and paternity protections. We’ll keep listening to drivers and introduce further improvements.”