UK Supreme court ruled its decision

In February 2021, several media including BBC, reported that the UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Uber, which is an US technology company, must treat its drivers as workers rather than self-employed. This decision could mean that Uber drivers take worker’s benefit such as minimum wage and holiday pay. The ruling has a huge impact on the ride-hailing app and leads to big consequences for the gig economy.

Based on the report, Uber stated that the ruling affected a small number of drivers and the company had already made changes to its business. Uber had finally appealed to the UK’s Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds. This is not only case for the UK, and there are several legal battles related to the status of worker or self-employed across the globe. The ruling could be a cornerstone for this issue.

Who is Uber?

According to Uber’s homepage, they ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion. More specific, they think that good things happen when people can move, whether across town or toward their dreams. Opportunities appear, open up and become reality.

The US technology giant set sustainability as follows. Uber is committing to realize a fully electric, zero-emission platform by 2040, with 100% of rides taking place in zero-emission vehicles, on public transit, or with micro mobility. The company is responsible for taking actions to climate change more proactively as the largest mobility platform in the world. What they will do is to offer riders more options to ride green, to help drivers go electric, to make transparency a priority and to partner with NGOs and the private sector.

An unmanned vehicle is only solution?

As we see Uber’s sustainability, it seems natural that the company should take care of its drivers, even if it does not mention directly in the statement. This is because the ride-hailing service would not work without them. On the other hand, if the company wants to make its business profitable, their costs account for large proportion of its total cost and it is also true that the company wants to reduce their costs. In fact, Uber lost $8.5 billion in 2019, even though we could travel freely at that time.

Therefore, the UK’s Supreme Court decision has a huge impact on its business, and the share price of the US technology giant was down due to it as a result. The question here is that how Uber achieves ambivalent challenges: To treat its drivers as a worker on one side, and to make its business profitable on the other side.

Possible answer might be what is called “robotaxi”, in other words, unmanned vehicle. It means that level 5 autonomous driving technology is necessary at the same time. Of course, it takes more time for level 5 autonomous driving technology to be feasible and available across the globe, but the thing we can for sure is that some companies put on much effort to realize it. As we see the other article about driverless society, Waymo, which is one of the famous subsidiaries of Alphabet, takes further steps in Arizona. Therefore, the day when Uber achieves both economic and social value is not fantasy.