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Oct 31, 2016

UBER's DRIVERS * UK: WITH WORKERS' RIGHTS

* England - Uber drivers entitled to workers’ rights, U.K. Tribunal rules

--- Drivers for Uber Technologies Inc. are entitled to workers’ rights including paid holidays and the minimum wage, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled Friday. This it's a potential setback for the ride-hailing service that could further jeopardize its highflying business model... The ruling could affect around 30,000 Uber drivers in London and significantly raise the company’s costs there. Uber, which argues it is a technology platform that matches riders with drivers, has relied on a contractor workforce of motorists who take on their own expenses like insurance, fuel and car upkeep... Uber is waging similar fights in the U.S. It offered $100 million to settle a class-action suit by drivers in California and Massachusetts who sought to be treated like regular employees, but the settlement was rejected by a judge in August... The battles over employment status add to Uber’s regulatory headaches around the world, as lawmakers from Austin, Texas, to Buenos Aires to New Delhi question whether ride-hailing apps threaten passenger safety and should be regulated like taxi companies... Contractor status is crucial for Uber and other so-called on-demand companies that rely on a pool of freelance workers to drive taxis, clean houses, fetch food or perform other menial tasks. Those firms say they would likely have to raise prices and couldn’t depend on workers who may be willing to work just a few hours a week... Uber, which was valued this year at $68 billion by its investors, has maintained it is a technology company, not a taxi company, and its drivers are self-employed workers who are free to work as little or as often as they like. Consequently, it has said its drivers aren’t entitled to the most basic of workers’ rights... Law firm Leigh Day, acting on behalf of the drivers, argued that the drivers were deserving of worker status as the company had “considerable control” over their drivers’ activities... 
(PHOTO: REUTERS - The ruling could affect around 30,000 Uber drivers in London and significantly raise the company’s costs there)  --  London, EN, UK - The WSJ, by WILLIAM LOUCH and GREG BENSINGER - Oct. 28, 2016

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