A driver makes use of the Uber app to drop off a passenger in London.Chris J. Ratcliffe | Bloomberg through Getty ImagesLONDON — Uber misplaced a vital authorized battle within the U.Ok. on Friday because the nation’s Supreme Court upheld a ruling that its drivers are staff, not impartial contractors.The Supreme Court voted unanimously to dismiss Uber’s enchantment towards the ruling. The resolution might have large implications for Uber’s U.Ok. enterprise, in addition to the broader gig economic system.Friday’s verdict concludes an virtually five-year authorized battle between Uber and a bunch of former drivers who declare they had been staff entitled to employment rights like a minimal wage, vacation pay and relaxation breaks.In 2016, an employment tribunal dominated in favor of the drivers, led by Yaseen Aslam and James Farrar, who claimed they had been staff employed by Uber and due to this fact entitled to sure labor protections.Uber insists its drivers are self-employed and that it acts as extra of an “company” which connects them with passengers by an app. Uber desires to maintain the authorized classification of its drivers as impartial contractors unchanged, arguing drivers choose this “gig” mannequin because it’s extra versatile — it additionally advantages Uber from a price perspective.”We respect the Court’s resolution which centered on a small variety of drivers who used the Uber app in 2016,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional common supervisor for Northern and Eastern Europe, mentioned in a press release Friday.”Since then now we have made some vital modifications to our enterprise, guided by drivers each step of the best way. These embody giving much more management over how they earn and offering new protections like free insurance coverage in case of illness or damage.”Heywood added: “We are dedicated to doing extra and can now seek the advice of with each energetic driver throughout the UK to grasp the modifications they wish to see.”The U.Ok. case echoes Uber’s authorized battle with Californian regulators, who final 12 months tried to reclassify drivers of Uber and different ride-hailing providers like Lyft as staff to grant them extra employment protections.But voters supported a poll measure known as Proposition 22, which exempted Uber and different gig economic system platforms from reclassifying drivers as staff.What occurs subsequent?The Supreme Court ruling probably jeopardizes Uber’s enterprise mannequin within the U.Ok. Though it solely considerations drivers concerned within the 2016 case, in idea it’s relevant to different drivers utilizing Uber’s app.The firm will now have to return to the employment tribunal to find out compensation for the group of drivers. But it might face additional claims from hundreds of different drivers within the nation.It additionally has main implications for Britain’s gig economic system, which is assumed to have a workforce of round 5.5 million individuals. Other firms working the same mannequin to Uber’s embody Bolt, Ola and Deliveroo.”This verdict will undoubtedly have far and wide-reaching implications for all gig economic system operators and can make it more durable for firms partaking individuals through digital platforms to claim that they’re self-employed, regardless of contractual documentation which can state in any other case,” mentioned Helen Crossland, associate at U.Ok. legislation agency Seddons.