ECJ's Uber ruling has widespread implications for gig economy

An individual uses the Uber app in Toronto. Craig Robertson  Toronto Sun  Postmedia Network

The European court said this aspect was especially important because many Uber drivers derive most of their income from fares-they are not "economically independent", as the company claims.

According to the ECJ, Uber “exercises decisive influence over the conditions in which drivers provide their service, ” as in non-app citizens cant use the service, therefore Uber is gaining an unfair advantage.

Uber, which allows passengers to summon a ride through an app on their smartphones, has transformed the taxi industry since its launch in 2011 and now operates in more than 600 cities globally.

In a dense legal judgement, the European Court of Justice said Uber was a service that connects "by means of a smartphone application and for remuneration non-professional drivers using their own vehicle with persons who wish to make urban journeys".

UBER HAS BEEN given a bloody nose by the European Court of Justice which has ruled the company should be regulated as a transport provider and not a technology company.

A spokesperson said: "Any ruling will not change things in most European Union countries, where we already operate under transportation law".

"We want to partner with cities to ensure everyone can get a reliable ride at the tap of a button".

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"The competition for Uber drivers is taxi drivers, but the competition for Uber is other platforms like Juno, Gett and Lyft", Tusk countered.

Another blow for Uber is that this ruling can not be challenged in the ECJ, but there is still an option to pursue an appeal in other courts. "On the contrary, this ruling serves as a very good reference for authorities to reject Uber [if they had intended to]", he said.

Transport regulators in London made the surprising decision in September to withdraw the app-based firm's operating licence, citing concerns over the way the company reported criminal offences and carried out background checks on its drivers.

Travis Kalanick stepped down as CEO in June following allegations that managers didn't adequately address reports of sexual harassment.

Uber's presence around the world has often been controversial, with protests staged against it in various cities.

The UK's Trades Union Congress, which has slammed the company for not giving its drivers a minimum wage or holiday pay, welcomed the verdict. With this ruling, it remains to be seen whether Uber will be able to maintain its valuation.

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