British drivers that work for Uber argue that the company don’t do enough to ensure that they are paid the minimum wage or that they receive paid holiday.
The case is being brought by law firm Leigh Day on behalf of the GMB union, who say Uber do not provide its drivers with the rights normally afforded to employees, claiming instead that they are “partners”.
Passengers pay the car hire company for the journey, and then the drivers receive a percentage of that payment.
Leigh Day’s lawyers claim Uber’s contract terms breach of UK employment law, and that there are some health and safety issues, too.
According to The BBC, Leigh Day claims that Uber does not ensure its drivers take rest breaks or work a maximum number of hours per week.
They argue that this provides a substantial risk to all road users given that there will be 42,000 Uber drivers in London in 2016, according to Uber’s chief executive.
Leigh Day added there had been reports of drivers being suspended or deactivated by Uber after having made complaints about unlawful treatment, without being given any opportunity to challenge the claims.
If the lawsuit is successful, then drivers can expect to receive substantial payouts from Uber.
The American car hire firm is also facing legal action around the world, with Canadian taxi drivers taking action against Uber last week.
Nigel Mackay a lawyer in the employment team at Leigh Day, believes Uber should not be allowed to deny workers these basic rights.
“Uber not only pays the drivers but it also effectively controls how much passengers are charged and requires drivers to follow particular routes. As well as this, it uses a ratings system to assess drivers’ performance.
“We believe that it’s clear from the way Uber operates that it owes the same responsibilities towards its drivers as any other employer does to its workers. In particular, its drivers should not be denied the right to minimum wage and paid leave.”
Uber operates a car hire smartphone app that connects passengers to drivers.
Using the app, passengers can request to be picked up from any location within London, or 300 other cities worldwide.