2017 was the year of the rise and public awakening to the gig economy. Part of this is down to the sheer mass of cases gig economy companies have been involved with, especially Uber! The latest case, which had judgment passed down 5 days before Christmas, is from the European Court of Justice.
The case before the ECJ was whether Uber is a taxi service or a technology app that acts as an agent to connect users to drivers. The reason the case is important is because, if Uber is a service and not an app, it extends the amount of regulation the company will be subject to.
Uber, a Service not an Agent
The ECJ held Uber was indeed a transport service, meaning it must be regulated by member states like any other taxi business. The ECJ’s reasoning was due to the way Uber, “exercises decisive influence over the conditions under which the drivers provide their service.”
Whilst the UK will be leaving the EU next year, the decision is still relevant until that date, and, matches a similar national agenda to reform the gig economy. In gig economy employment cases, the Respondents have argued that they are merely connecting agents, not employers. This decision weakens that argument.