Uber Drivers are ‘Workers’ – The Expanding Scope of the ‘Worker’ Concept in the UK’s Gig Economy
Chapter 11 in Kenner J, Florczak I & Otto M (eds), Precarious Work. The Challenge for Labour Law in Europe (Edward Elgar, 2019, Forthcoming)
19 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019
Date Written: December 1, 2018
This chapter evaluates the importance of judicial decisions, most notably the London Uber case, in awarding intermediate ‘worker’ status to self-employed on-demand gig workers. The chapter addresses complex issues of precarity that remain even when workers have some modicum of employment protection. It assesses the impact of the gig economy on the UK’s vibrant but precarious labour market, identifying problematic issues such as sham self-employment, pay, working hours, tax and social security. Analysis of the Uber case builds on the tribunals’ broad protective approach to the law on worker status and availability for work. It draws insight from the parallel case before the EU Court of Justice on the regulatory powers of municipalities over Uber. It concludes by comparing the protective common law approach in Uber, and subsequent cases, with proposals for legislative solutions that may reverse this trend and offers suggestions for solutions that embed the courts’ purposive approach.
Keywords: gig, economy, worker, employment, law, uber
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