29 Oct 2016

Uber drivers mull action after UK ruling

12:21 pm on 29 October 2016

A group representing Uber drivers is weighing up legal action here, following a landmark ruling in the United Kingdom.

Uber app

Uber app Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

A London employment tribunal has ruled the company should treat drivers as employees, not as self-employed.

It means drivers for the ride-hailing app will be entitled to holiday pay, paid rest breaks and the national minimum wage.

Read the decision here

Uber is appealing the decision.

New Zealand Uber Drivers Association chair Ben Wilson said the ruling set a very strong precedent.

"Given that we are subject to the common law, and our legal system derives from the UK.

"To have a ruling like that in the UK is going to be looked at by courts here, I would expect, as a strong precedent."

He said the decision could push self-employed Uber drivers here to consider similar legal action, although court costs might deter some people from doing it alone.

Mr Wilson said class action against the company is a possibility.

Legislation to overhaul New Zealand's passenger-service industry passed its first reading in Parliament in September, aiming to bring taxi and ride-sharing companies such as Uber into line.

The bill simplifies the regulatory system by creating a single class of small passenger-service operators which would cover both taxis and Uber drivers.

It would included reduced regulations for taxi operators.

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