An employment tribunal ruled that Addison Lee drivers are workers and not self-employed as argued by the company. In the same vein we await the outcome of the Uber appeal against the decision that its drivers are workers which begins tomorrow in the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

It certainly appears that the courts are increasingly reluctant to overlook the economic and practical reality of the relationship.  In Addison Lee, the drivers were under significant control in the way they were required to dress, communicate with customers, accept jobs and in the financial arrangements relating to vehicle hire.

In the pursuit for greater profit, various companies have sought increased margins based on reductions in worker costs. However it is proving very difficult to benefit from decreased worker costs without relinquishing the control over the delivery of the service which leads to worker or employment status.  

It will be interesting to see which way the EAT rules in the Uber appeal and whether or not an appeal will be lodged in Addison Lee. Currently though, the direction of travel is not looking good for these businesses.