European Union rules Uber is a transport firm

European Union rules Uber is a transport firm

Ever since it entered the European market in 2011, Uber has faced legal challenges and accusations that it ran afoul of the region's tough transport and labor laws, in part thanks to a phalanx of lawyers and lobbyists.

Jovana Karanovic-Founder of Reshaping Work and a PhD candidate at the Amsterdam Vrije Universiteit indicated while talking to The Next Web that, this is a set back decision for Uber not only in Europe but throughout the world and gives indication that indeed the company is a transportation firm and not a tech firm as they call themselves.

But Andrew Byrne, Uber's Head of Public Policy in Britain and Ireland, said the amount of time a user is logged into the app isn't the same as the number of hours he or she is driving.

"Member states can, therefore, regulate the conditions for providing that service", it said.

2017 just isn't Uber's year. Uber itself insists that there won't be a huge immediate impact on its business, but it could still affect how it operates in future and how it liaises with national governments. The company can still operate in London while it awaits its day in court.

The court, based in Luxembourg, said that the company had to be regulated in the same way as other cab operators after a case brought by drivers in Barcelona.

Now, with the court decision in hand, Uber's opponents say the firm will have to take greater responsibility for its operations in Europe, a task that is becoming increasingly important as the so-called gig economy expands from Ireland to Greece. Last month, a labor court in London ruled that the ride-hailing app's drivers were employees, rather than self-employed, and ordered the firm to pay them the minimum wage and paid leave. It said the ruling "confirms that Uber does not simply exist "on the cloud" but is well established with its wheels firmly on the road".

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"They have always said they are just a conduit between the driver and the passenger".

In 2014, a Spanish judge ruled that the "Uberpop" service risked breaking the law which led Uber to offer a limited version of its "Uber X" service across the country, which uses licensed professional drivers, rather than amateurs.

"There could be big implications for a sharing economy service like Airbnb, which will probably be regulated by the European Union", he said. Uber has already had problems with the law in several European countries, particularly France where the company was forced to overhaul its business model.

This judgment is the latest in a series of global cases regarding whether Uber should be classified as an employer. The EAT upheld the employment tribunal's ruling and dismissed Uber's appeal.

"Today's ruling isn't a disaster", said Damien Geradin, a partner at Euclid Law in Brussels. With this classification, Uber argued that it should fall under online services, which enjoy lighter European Union regulations.

Mark Scott contributed reporting.

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