FOR YEARS, UBER has deployed lobbyists to world capitals to protect its business model. Its lawyers have argued that Uber drivers are independent contractors, using a service that connects them with people who need rides. Uber? It’s just a tech company matching customers with business people.
For a long time, that argument worked. Now, following a UK Supreme Court decision, Uber has shifted, saying it will treat its UK drivers as workers. That unusual employment category—used in the UK—entitles drivers to minimum wage guarantees after expenses, paid holidays, and pension contributions, but drivers will not be employees. Just a few weeks ago, Uber had insisted that the case only applied to a handful of workers. The new policy will not apply to workers for Uber Eats, the company’s growing delivery service.