Uber drivers entitled to worker rights, UK's top court rules

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A group of drivers are entitled to worker rights such as the minimum wage at Uber, Britain's Supreme Court decided on Friday in a blow to the ride-hailing service that could have ramifications for millions of others in the gig economy.

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In a case led by two drivers, a London employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that they were due entitlements such as paid holidays and rest breaks.

Uber drivers are currently treated as self-employed, meaning that in law they are only afforded minimal protections.

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The Silicon Valley-based firm appealed the original ruling all the way to Britain's top court.

"The Supreme Court unanimously dismisses Uber's appeal," judge George Leggatt said.

"The legislation is intended to give certain protections to vulnerable individuals who have little or no say over their pay and working conditions."

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A total of 25 drivers form part of an expanded group who are in the case. Uber has around 60,000 drivers in Britain, including 45,000 in London, one of its most important markets.

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It could still take several months for the details of Friday's decision to be worked out if a further employment tribunal hearing is needed to sort through practicalities over sums owed to drivers.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Pravin Char)

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