INTERNATION - Uber heads to a British court on Tuesday to defend its business model of treating drivers as self-employed, entitling them to few rights in law, in the latest stage of a long-running battle at the taxi app.
The Silicon Valley-based company, which could be valued at $120 billion in a forthcoming flotation, has faced legal action, protests, regulator crackdowns and license losses around the world as it challenges existing competitors and rapidly expands.
In 2016, two British drivers successfully argued at a tribunal that Uber exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand taxi service and that they should be given workers’ rights, which include receiving the minimum wage.
An employment appeal tribunal upheld that decision last year prompting Uber to go to the Court of Appeal, with a two-day hearing due to begin on Tuesday.
Unions argue that the gig economy - where people often work for various employers at the same time without fixed contracts - is exploitative, whilst Uber says its drivers enjoy the terms of their work and on average earn much more than the minimum wage.