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Gig Economy ‘You are a cab company not a technology service,’ ECJ tells Uber

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UBER must get “its house in order” after it suffered a major legal blow to how it is regulated yesterday.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the taxi-hiring app should be regulated as a transport company and not, as the firm argues, as a technology service.

Uber claims that the ruling, which will force the firm to change how it operates in some European cities, will not affect its British operation.

But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Uber must get its house in order and play by the same rules as everybody else.

“Their drivers are not commodities. They deserve at the very least the minimum wage and holiday pay.

“Advances in technology should be used to make work better. Not to return to the type of working practices we thought we’d seen the back of decades ago.”

The case stemmed from a complaint by Barcelona taxi drivers who claimed Uber drivers should be licensed.

Uber and its drivers already have to obtain operating licences from local authorities in Britain.

Speaking after the ECJ ruling, Uber drivers’ union GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: “GMB welcomes this decision which confirms that Uber is, as we have always said, a transport company.

“We now want to see sensible regulation being applied to Uber and all drivers to ensure worker and public safety, and a level playing field for all our driver members.

“No doubt TfL will be reviewing this decision closely when they consider GMB member driver evidence in Uber's current licence appeal.”

Westminster magistrates’ court ruled on Tuesday that the GMB union and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association could participate in Uber’s forthcoming legal battle to appeal against the decision.

The verdict comes after Transport for London (TfL) refused to renew Uber’s operating licence in the capital in September on the grounds of “public safety and security implications.”

Uber can continue operating in London during the appeal process.

An Uber spokesman said: “This ruling will not change things in most EU countries where we already operate under transportation law.”

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