Uber Lose Licence To Operate In London


The Law Of…Losing An Operating Licence In London

US Taxi company Uber have been stripped of their right to operate in London. London's Transport Authority commented that the licence was rejected on the basis that Uber was not a "fit and proper" car hire operator.

Deana Bates, Employment Law Solicitor, expands on the story and what this could mean for Uber drivers.

Why Was The Licence Stripped?

Transport for London explained that Uber's application to renew its licence was rejected because they felt the company had a "lack of corporate responsibility". The company has reportedly been lax in regards to reporting serious criminal offences, obtaining medical certificates and conducting background checks of its drivers.

They were also concerned with Uber's use of Greyball software in their operating systems. This particular type of software blocks regulatory bodies from accessing the app. The result of this hinders their ability to conduct regulatory or law enforcement duties.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented that all companies should "play by the rules", and that he was in full support of the company's license revocation.

What Does This Mean For The Drivers?   

There are more than 40,000 licensed drivers in London who rely on Uber to make a living. The Uber drivers stand to take the biggest hit, with many of their livelihoods being directly affected.

The 40,000 or so Uber drivers stand to lose their income with very little notice, through no fault of their own. This is a dramatic example of the precarious position of those in work but denied the protection of workers’ rights.

Uber will have the opportunity to appeal the decision, but it is unclear at this stage whether any such appeal would be successful. If Uber do not appeal the decision and or are unsuccessful on appeal, Uber drivers could be out of work from as soon as the 30th of September.

Not The First Time Uber Has Come Under Fire

GMB Union called for the removal of Uber's licence in May, stating that Uber was not obeying the law in regards to basic worker's rights. In this case, Uber came under fire for not granting their workers employee status, something which GMB tried to push for with all car hire and minicab operators.

It was hoped that the recent Taylor Review would help to secure those working in the gig economy more security, but the hope was short lived. When revealed, the report from the government merely suggested some moderate changes, and did not offer a new category of worker for those, like Uber drivers, who are self-employed “workers” without “worker” rights.  

Deana Comments:

"This decision could leave many drivers without work if it is not reversed via the appeal route. Given the lack of clarity around the status of the individuals providing services within the ‘gig economy’ such as the Uber drivers, it is unlikely that these drivers will be financially compensated for their loss of work even where the decision to prevent them operating is made at such short notice."

"Employees in a similar position with other companies may be entitled to payments such as redundancy pay and or notice pay. However, given the model the Uber drivers are working under, it is unlikely that they will receive any such payments or any equivalent payments and will not have the rights to pursue Uber in respect of their loss of work."

"It appears that the reasons behind the decision not to renew the operating licence, are factors which may not be within the control of all/any drivers, however all drivers are likely to suffer consequences of any acts/omissions by Uber which have contributed to the decision regarding the licence."

If you have recently suffered unfair treatment due to your employment rights or status, or if you are unsure where you stand legally with your worker status, then it's vital to contact a legal expert. At Simpson Millar our Employment Law Specialists offer all the legal advice you need. Contact us today on our Freephone number or through our online enquiry form.

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