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UBER is launching a fresh High Court action in a bid to undermine the Supreme Court’s previous ruling on workers’ rights and to weaken transport regulations, drivers claimed today.
The ride-hailing firm is seeking declaratory relief from the court to confirm that its business model is compliant with Transport for London (TfL) regulations.
In February, the Supreme Court ruled against Uber to confirm that its drivers are workers and are entitled to statutory protection under employment law.
The Supreme Court also raised fresh questions on Uber’s business model and whether it was compliant with transport regulation.
TfL, which has the duty of regulating the company, published Uber’s application for relief on Thursday under the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act.
The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) warned that if Uber is successful, the implications would be “catastrophic” on workers and the broader public interest.
The union said that Uber would also likely escape VAT liability which it estimated currently to be £2.5 billion outstanding.
The ADCU also criticised TfL for failing to raise concerns about the risk of unrestrained driver exploitation that is likely of Uber’s application is successful.
“The ADCU is shocked to learn of TfL’s tacit support for Uber in making the application with the regulator even suggesting cosmetic changes to the text of the relief sought,” the union said in a statement.
ADCU president Yaseen Aslam and general secretary James Farrar said: “This is a brazen attempt by Uber to undermine our Supreme Court victory and weaken Transport for London’s powers to protect workers from terrible exploitation.
“TfL and the mayor’s decision to go along with this legal caper amounts to a terrible betrayal of 100,000 Londoners working as licensed drivers under brutal working conditions.
“Instead of showing political leadership and standing up for precarious workers, the mayor is sweeping us and the problem under the carpet.”
An Uber spokesperson said: “Earlier this year we made changes to our business to ensure all UK drivers are guaranteed at least the national living wage, holiday pay and a pension plan.
“We are committed to these worker changes and this legal procedure is seeking to clarify a different and narrow point of law.”
TfL was also approached for comment.
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