The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Uber drivers must be treated as workers instead of self-employed, which could put Uber on the hook for government mandates on minimum wage and holiday pay. The consequences will be a scaling back of drivers in that country – less opportunity and income for some drivers, fewer affordable rides available for consumers, says CEI’s Iain Murray:
“Today’s British court ruling on Uber centered around statutory interpretations of various UK laws and regulations and does not indicate trouble for Uber’s business model in other countries. Even in the UK, the interpretations depended on Uber drivers not working with other Transportation Networking Companies and them being heavy users of the service, not merely occasional users as is the general rule around the world.
“However, the ruling will surely mean that Uber will scale back the number of drivers it works with, raising the price for consumers while also lowering the number of rides available to them. This exactly what a CEI study predicted would happen as a result of California’s since-changed AB5 law. The people most affected by the UK court ruling will be poorer and younger people who find London’s cabs too expensive. At the same time, people who were working with Uber to supplement their earnings during an historically difficult working environment may find that lifeline cut off.
“It is in the UK Parliament’s power to alter their laws to ensure access to affordable, reliable private transportation options remain open. They should do so as a matter of urgency.”