Well done Ritchie

I am delighted that it has today been ruled that Uber’s drivers are employees of the company and not self employed contractors.

The decision is good for the employees in question. They will now enjoy the minimum wage, holiday and sick leave entitlements, maternity and paternity rights, and employment protection. I also hope they will be fairly reimbursed for their costs of providing a car.

No, employment law distinguishes between workers and employees.

Twat.

Jeebus, 3 minutes ago I didn’t know there was a distinction. But because I am willing to use that tax dodging Google thing I was able to find out.

Richard Murphy says:
October 28 2016 at 5:27 pm
I have written extensively on the subject in the past

And if you read the decision you would realise precisely that this does look, despite the wording about which the Tribunal were suitably rude, exactly like the substance of an employment contract

If a Tribunal can see the glaringly obvious why couldn’t HMRC?

Sigh.

The ride-hailing app had argued that it was a tech firm and that its drivers were independent self-employed contractors who can choose where and when they work. As a result, they were not entitled to rights granted to workers,
….
On Friday, the employment tribunal announced that it had found in the drivers’ favour. The ruling means that these workers and others

That’s from Ritchie’s own sodding link!

31 thoughts on “Well done Ritchie”

  1. Ritchie’s response it to this:

    j t smith says:
    October 28 2016 at 5:15 pm

    And it appears that there will be an appeal. This is a decision by the lowest tier. I wouldn’t be calling for heads to roll just yet.

    And I am confused as to why you would think there was a conspiracy by HMRC to deem someone self-employed in order to increase employment numbers. Makes no sense.

    The Uber contract actually looks nothing like an employment contract. I’m amazed you could think it does. But then, as you confused worker and employee I assume you do not have much experience in this field. No shame. It is rather complex.

    I suspect HMRC did look at the contract and conclude that it was one of self-employment. The appeals process will determine if they were right and if I were a betting man my £5 would go on Uber winning its appeal.

    Surprised the comment made it though.

  2. What’s the betting these uber drivers have union links? Cunts. Utter cunts.

    Look, most people in the ‘gig economy’ like it. McDonalds manages it’s staffing with mothers in weekdays, students in holidays. It’s winning. Epic winning.

    I knew a guy who was an IT consultant with an HGV licence. When the IT work was slow, he drove a truck for a few days.

    And no one is going to get richer. Those hols and sick pay come out of wages. Tossers.

  3. “The decision is good for the employees in question”

    Not if the company decides it doesn’t want to use their labour any more. Or indeed the resultant price increases mean customers go elsewhere for their transportation requirements……………

  4. They ain’t employees. Limited employment protection. No chance of claiming unfair dismissal.

    Uber could just terminate the contracts.

    Probably would if they had too.

    Murphy is an ignorant fuckwit.

  5. “What’s the betting these uber drivers have union links? ”

    I noticed in an earlier report on the two drivers involved, that the one who complained about it not being minimum wage was also the one who was logged in to Uber for long periods but curiously did not accept quite a few offers of work.

  6. “@BIW – case was funded by GMB union. They have lots of black cab members.”

    But black cab drivers continue to be self-employed!

  7. Uber would have had a better leg to stand on if they’re argued that they weren’t a taxi fleet, but were a taxi radio control centre. Then, they’d be regulated as a taxi radio control centre, the taxi drivers would yes be independent operators purchasing centralised taxi control from Uber. Just like existing taxi radio control centres.

    But no. Tech company! New ideas! Not done before! Rules don’t apply to us.

    F, and with all due respect, O. What they claim to be the Uber model has existed since the invention of the messenger boy.

  8. BIW/CHF: Black Cabs are hackneys (hail’n’ride) not private hire (prebooked). Uber are a private hire fleet.

  9. @ Martin
    Yes – black cab drivers are individually licensed and have to pass an exam “the Knowledge”.
    Minicab companies are licensed.
    The black cabs have a meter, which determines charges (which are far too high but fixed).
    Minicab you have to negotiate a fare.

  10. Martin, yes. Get off train, go to taxi rank. All the taxis there that you could just jump in to are Hackney. None will be private hire. Private hire must be pre-booked. Although none of the licencing officers seem to know just how much “pre-” actually needs to be.

    The wave your arms in the air to hail a cab bit seems to be originally limited to London Hackney (Black Cabs), but seems to have spread to other cities . You won’t be able to do that in the provinces.

    I wonder what the judgement means for traditional firms tho’. AIUI, beyond a certain scale, your local firm looks to the passengers to be a taxi firm. To the drivers, the firm looks like a (specialist) car leasing company, with a despatcher attached. Could this decision fuck with the entire industry, not just Uber?

  11. Bloke in North Dorset

    I don’t claim to understand the details and haven’t had a chance to bo any background reading, but I have a couple of thoughts/questions that others may be able to answer.

    My wife sells paintings through galleries. She uses all her own tools and there’s no restrictions on when she works. They take a % of the sale price. Could she claim she’s an employee?

    Most councils provide areas for people to sell their wares and charge the for the privilege. Could they make a claim reasonable claim to be employés? (I don’t think so but given the way regulations and laws get stretched nowadays I’m thinking clever lawyers might find a ruse)

  12. Traditional firms have been ahead of Uber. You’ve been able to use email and web booking for the big private hire firms in Sheffield since about 2005-ish.

    The main thing I’ve seen since I came off licensing six years ago is a consolidation of the private hire firms and some of the independents joining them. For years we’d been telling The Trade that it was in their interests to have a single coordinated booking system and we’d give advice on how to set up a driver&trade-owned co-op to do it. Consolidating most of the trade into a couple of companies is another way of acchieving it.

    I’m a free-market regulator. I saw my only function in the regulation of the taxi trade was in protecting the travelling public. Taxis have a more specialised set of public protection issues than things like buses ‘cos you use them as an individual not en mass with other people. Hackneys have more specialsed public protection issues than private hire because you are flagging down an unknown person at random in a random location with no interaction with anybody else.

  13. BiND: if Uber were operating in the way you suggest, like hiring a council market stall to sell your wares from, that’s what’s informally called a taxi radio control centre. You the individual sole trader taxi “rent” a radio from the the control centre, just like an individual sole trader florist would rent a market stall from the council.

    Uber have tried to claim they are a taxi radio control centre, but all their actions demonstrate that they are a private hire taxi fleet. If they were a radio control centre the cabbie would pay them a set amount for a certain amount of radio hours, and the passenger would pay the fare to the cabbie. The transactional arrangement would be the cabbie buying services from the control centre, not the control centre collecting fares and passing a fraction of it on to the cabbie. That would be like a council clippie hovering by your market stall and insisting your customers pay him for your flowers.

    (You can have arrangement where the passenger can pay via the control centre when booking but it is clearly a payment to the cabbie and must be accounted and segregated as the cabbie’s money, not the control centre’s money. Think estate agent escrow accounts).

  14. Also, the UK situation is confused by the metropolitan elite being obsessed with London and blind to anything that happens out here in civilisation where we’ve had private hire for nearly 50 years, whereas in London it only happened 15 years ago and anybody who has the public ears and comments on the issue thinks “taxi” means “hackney”.

  15. Bloke in North Dorset

    jgh,

    “I’m a free-market regulator. I saw my only function in the regulation of the taxi trade was in protecting the travelling public.”

    If only all regulators and politicians thought like you the world would be a wealthier and happier place.

    Thanks for the other responses, very helpful.

  16. jgh

    “The transactional arrangement would be the cabbie buying services from the control centre, not the control centre collecting fares and passing a fraction of it on to the cabbie.”

    If it really is “a fraction”, then one can read that as “a fraction to the centre” (it’s identical), ie the centre is nothing more than a facilitator (rather than employer)?

    The actual cash temporaritly going via the agent (faciliator / council clippie for flowers) doesn’t matter in that context.

    As BiND said – very helpful.

  17. Martin, that’s actually a piss-poor example;

    All drivers are licenced. All vehicles are licenced.
    All Operators are licenced.

    Drivers are licenced according to which type of service they provide (which determines what sort of licenced vehicle they can use), private hire, or Hackney. Or Dual Driver, which is both.

    Vehicles are either one or the other. Hackney or private hire. The vehicle will have to display a plate, fixed at the back, showing the type of service, and the registration details, and the number of passengers it is licenced to carry. (Except when it doesn’t – I’m not sure if it is still the case, but only private hire vehicles could be plate exempt, but this can basically be ignored). Only vehicles licenced as Hackney may (are required to) have a roof light, showing whether they are available for hire or not.

    At this point, Hackney licenced drivers may only drive (provide a service using) a Hackney licenced vehicle, and drivers with a private hire licence may only drive a vehicle licenced for private hire. Drivers with the Dual Driver could drive either.

    Only Hackney vehicles may wait for a fare at a rank. Only Hackney vehicles (in major cities) can be hailed in the street. Taxi ranks are designated by the council, and may be on private land (supermarket car parks, railway stations). The council might charge a rent (separate from the licencing fee) for the right to wait/pick up fares from particular ranks. This might actually go straight to the landowner, it might be shared, but it’s generally pointlessly confusing and leads to, er, disagreements.

    Oh, and meters. Hackney vehicles must have a meter. Private Hire may or may not. The default position on the fare is whatever the meter says. You can negotiate a fare with the driver before you start whether the vehicle has a meter or not. Generally, the council will set a maximum tariff/rates, but the driver/firm is free to set whatever they want as long as it doesn’t exceed the council rate.

    So, it’s Sunday night, you’d normally drive to the station each day, but you suddenly realise there’s a lunch with a client tomorrow and it could get extremely liquid. You call the local firm and book a taxi for 6 o’clock in the morning to pick you up from home and drop you at the station. This job is pre-booked, and the firm could send either a private hire vehicle or a Hackney carriage. At the station, you pay the man and bugger off, and the driver of a Hackney vehicle could park in the rank, stick his roof light on, and wait for a fare. A private hire vehicle can’t do this and must go somewhere else (typically, they return to base each time).

    In the evening, you stagger off the train, pissed out of your tiny. You make it to the rank and get into the Hackney vehicle first in the queue/with a driver stupid enough to let a drunk get in.

    If you rang in advance for a private hire vehicle, he won’t be in the rank. If he decides that you aren’t getting in his car, he can’t take a fare from the next passing sober gentleman, he has to write the job off.

    And Operator licences. And operator is defined as the person who takes a booking and passes the details to a driver. A driver (of either type) who takes advance bookings via any method must also have the operator licence. A Hackney driver who only picks up at ranks doesn’t need one. A firm that takes advance bookings and allocates them across drivers needs at least one person with one. Drivers who only take bookings from firms with at least one operator licence don’t need their own.

    And it’s with the operator licence where things can get funny with apps and whatnot.

  18. jgh
    “whereas in London it only happened 15 years ago”

    Not true, there have been ‘minicabs’ in London for 50 years or more. The change brought in 15 years ago was the licencing of ‘minicabs’, before then anyone could run a private hire service using any old mobile ashtray, just so long as they had ‘hire and reward’ insurance and did not ‘ply for hire’.

  19. Jeebus, 3 minutes ago I didn’t know there was a distinction. But because I am willing to use that tax dodging Google thing I was able to find out.

    I have found that 3 minutes with Wikipedia before hitting ‘post comment’ can save me from looking like a moron.

  20. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Murphy is happy at this ruling because he thinks it materially increases the likelihood that the fascist scumbags he so adores will get to wet their beaks. The ins and outs of the cab business are, I am sure, of no interest to him whatever.

  21. The regulators are trying to put Air bnb out of business too, by forcing them to adopt anti-discrimination laws that apply to hotels and B&Bs. See Samizdata today.

  22. Is it unreasonable to expect the smallest bit of academic rigour and curiosity and willingness to research before putting fist to keyboard from a person in office as a professor at a university in our capital city?

  23. Tim N

    “The regulators are trying to put Air bnb out of business too, by forcing them to adopt anti-discrimination laws that apply to hotels and B&Bs. See Samizdata today.”

    I can’t say I’m keen on people using AirBnB to, effectively, set up a hotel but without obeying various requirements about planning permission, insurance, fire safety, disability access… sometimes even sublet without owner’s permission. There is a difference between renting out a spare room for a couple of days and setting up a fully-fledged commercial operation. If I was running a hotel “by the book” I think I’d feel legitimately aggrieved at the competition.

  24. There is a difference between renting out a spare room for a couple of days and setting up a fully-fledged commercial operation. If I was running a hotel “by the book” I think I’d feel legitimately aggrieved at the competition.

    Agreed.

  25. Re should AirBnB hosts face the same anti-discrimination laws as hotels and B&Bs do, I think the writing was on the wall when a few years back a B&B that refused to accept gay couples was done for discrimination. Their defence was pretty much “unlike a hotel, we actually live here, so we get to choose the guests we invite into our own home” – and failed, because they were, fundamentally, operating as a business. With so many AirBnB hosts essentially operating on a commercial basis, I don’t think the “it’s a home, not a business” line is going to work.

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