Uber has lost a bid to prevent its drivers being classed as "workers" – meaning they are entitled to the minimum wage and paid holiday.
Today senior judges at the Court of Appeal in London threw out the ride-hailing firm’s appeal against a government ruling giving drivers more rights.
The "gig economy" ruling meant tens of thousands are entitled to employee benefits – but Uber argued they are self-employed.
The GMB union hailed another legal wins for Uber drivers.
Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “Uber keep appealing and keep losing. Uber should just accept the verdict and stop trying to find loopholes that deprive people of their hard won rights and hard earned pay.
“This is the perfect early Christmas present for GMB’s Uber members, but this case is about the wider ‘gig economy’ too.
"Employers are on notice that they can’t just run rough shod over working people to put more on the bottom line for shareholders.”
And Labour MP Frank Field said: "This is another stunning victory for workers against the exploitation and poverty wages that stem from bogus self-employment in the gig economy.
"The government’s job now is to ensure justice is delivered for workers all year round, not just at Christmas."
The latest ruling comes after the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) last year dismissed Uber’s appeal against an earlier tribunal ruling that former drivers Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar were "workers".
But, at a hearing in October, the company’s barrister Dinah Rose QC said the finding that Uber drivers were workers ignored the fact that its relationship with drivers was "typical of the private hire industry".
Uber was not "unusual" because of the relationship between it and its drivers, "but because the Uber app enables it to operate on a much larger scale than traditional minicab companies", she argued.
The initial employment tribunal found Uber’s agreements with drivers contained "fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology", and that the contracts "did not correspond with the practical reality".
However, Ms Rose said that the contracts "reflected the true relationship and terms of the agreements between the parties".
She added that both tribunals had "erred in law" in concluding that the pair were workers, submitting that they had "wrongly disregarded the written contracts in which the parties’ agreements were recorded".
Jason Galbraith-Marten QC, for Mr Aslam and Mr Farrar, said there was "no express agreement" by which the claimants appointed Uber "to act as their agent and setting out the nature and extent of that agency".
He said that the tribunals’ task was therefore to "determine the true nature of the (implied) agreement" between drivers and Uber.
Mr Galbraith-Marten said the tribunals were "entitled to ask whether the claimants are genuinely in business on their own account" or whether they were "providing their services" to Uber.
He added that, if Uber was not acting as the drivers’ agent, "the purported driver-passenger contract is indeed a fiction".
Before the October hearing, hundreds of "precarious workers" attended a demonstration organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), which represents Mr Aslam and Mr Farrar.
IWGB general secretary Jason Moyer-Lee described the demonstration as "the articulation of the legitimate rage of the precarious workers and the exploited workers of the UK".
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