back to article Denied: Uber's request to skip to UK Supreme Court to appeal workers' rights

Uber’s request to leapfrog the Court of Appeals and go straight to the UK Supreme Court in its bid to appeal a decision on workers’ rights, has been knocked back. The private taxi app biz had wanted to skip the Court of Appeals and have its case heard in front of the higher court, but its application has been denied. It’s the …

  1. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Meh

    Given that Uber are losing money hand over fist, the question is how long investors are going to want to keep supporting them. I'm guessing that the next financial crisis will produce a bit of a credit crunch and then pop, they're gone.

    And let's face it, we all know there will be another financial crisis. There always is...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You are missing the obvious point - they only have to stall for another 2-3 years until they have their driverless cars in place. After that they will have no drivers at all. It should be pretty obvious that was always the end game, everything up to that point was just for establishing the brand and perfecting their booking system so they have a head start on any 3rd party competition when it happens.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I would not say that was the planned end game from the start. The star was just making money any way without concern for how it was done.

        Driverless cars are just there to save them from self destruction, and taking workers and consumers with them.

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          Eh Uber has made money, every article I have read so far states they are losing money on every journey?

          Please correct me if I am incorrect.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            You are correct... they are losing money pretty much constantly...

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        We are not going to have driverless cars in 2-3 years time. The car industry just doesn't move that fast.

        1. Bob Dole (tm)
          Devil

          We are not going to have driverless cars in 2-3 years time. The car industry just doesn't move that fast.

          I think someone hasn't been paying attention.

          One of them will finish it fairly soon. There's already driverless cars on some streets in the USA.

          All a manufacturer has to do is finish, show that it works pretty well, then pretty much every government will fast track their use. Why? Because what politician wants to stand up to say Mothers Against Drunk Driving (or a similar group) and tell them not now?

          The politicians know this is coming regardless and they will jump over each other in order to be the party that herald's in a new Era of Safe Travel(tm). It's coming, far quicker than you think.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            One of them will finish it fairly soon. There's already driverless cars on some streets in the USA.

            I think the important thing is that Uber will not have self driving cars first. If Uber don't develop the technology themselves, they won't be able to have a monopoly, which kinda fucks their endgame.

            My endgame is taking cheap cab rides subsidised by the idiot investors who believe that Uber will ever reach their nirvana like promised land of monopoly profits.

            My feeling, if self driving cars are good enough, we replace municipal buses with municipal Johnny Cabs, so no-one will be getting rich off this apart from car manufacturers.

      3. Andytug

        Driverless cars may well be their end game, but their game right now is to undercut the opposition and drive them out of business, thus establishing a de facto monopoly. Then they will rack up the prices (surge pricing being an example of how quickly it can be done) and finally make $$$ to pay back their venture capitalist backers. Ironically if the money used was public money it would be an illegal subsidy.......

        1. Death_Ninja

          Game of Monopoly

          Yes, undercutting and driving out competition is what they are doing. Its the modern business model isn't it? That and ensuring that even when you do make money, you don't...thereby avoiding staff pay raises, bonuses (for plebs, not C level), pay no tax and no dividends.... all the while promising jam tomorrow.

          They've all seen Amazon, Apple, Google etc do it and they want a piece of it too because they too are "sexy market disruptors" (even when they aren't)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I thought they were state aided by virtue of the drivers earning beneath the threshold for benefits / tax credits or whatever they’re called these days?

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "Ironically if the money used was public money it would be an illegal subsidy......."

          Having a few "loss leaders" to attract customers is one thing, spending investors money to to deliberately undercut the opposition in an unsustainable way by losing money on every transaction is predatory pricing and illegal in many jurisdictions. Sadly, no one seems to care.

      4. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        3 years until they have their driverless cars in place.

        ... assuming TfL will license Uber to run driverless taxis in London, and similarly other regulators in other jurisdictions. I hope not. The 'brand' they have established is synonymous with sleaze.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: 3 years until they have their driverless cars in place.

          First, the appropriate licencing authority, currently the EU, needs to give a driverless car type approval to run on the roads; then the Dept of Transport needs to licence them to run on the roads without a driver, and that would require parliament to change the law; then Transport for London give them type approval to be used as taxis; and needs to approve Über to operate them.

          We might get a car submitted for type approval in 2-3 years time, but I don't think we will get any further than that. Parliament is looking at changing the law, but I think in 2-3 years time, it will just be limited approval for testing purposes, and they will still need a driver on-board.

      5. Commswonk Silver badge

        @ AC: You are missing the obvious point - they only have to stall for another 2-3 years until they have their driverless cars in place.

        There's optimism and reckless optimism, and I think yours would qualify as reckless.

        But since you mention "stalling"...

        Complete journey in driverless (Uber) taxi.

        Put bricks in front of and behind one wheel; two wheels if you have ready access to sufficient bricks.

        POPCORN!

    2. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      I wasn't assuming they will be around by the time driverless cars are available. Given the state of the US stock market, and the plunge in tech stocks the last couple of days, I'm even starting to wonder whether they will be around next year.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      the question is how long investors are going to want to keep supporting them

      I suspect that Uber as a company is already sunk but investors will continue to use it to push their no legislation is good legislation agenda.

  2. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

    Italy

    Uber has just been banned nationwide in Italy, too.

    Good.

    Wouldn't want to be an Uber investor, right now.

    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: Italy

      Uber was more expensive than taxi in Italy. Same in Dubai.

  3. sjsmoto

    I can see Uber trying to use convicts next. They'll say the front portion of the car's interior is the jail so they can make the drivers work for free.

    1. IneptAdept

      Convicts Next

      Why not Anglian Windows use them in call centres

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Convicts Next

        Why not, Anglian Windows use them in call centres

        I think you will find it is working in an Anglian Windows call centre that turns people to crime.

  4. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Boffin

    "just that less than 6 per cent of drivers spend more than 60 hours logged into the app per week"

    Given the number of drivers they "employ", that's a shit load of drivers doing excessive hours as a professional driver every week!!!

    Perhaps Taxi's and Private Hire vehicles should be fitted with tachograph recording each drivers hours (link also for rules on passenger carrying vehicles.

    1. Ivan Headache

      That would certainly stop the speeders.

      I recently had the pleasure of an Uber ride.

      Only trouble was - it wasn't a pleasure.

  5. Stratman

    Of course their request has been refused

    Allowing Uber to skip the Court of Appeal and go straight to the Supreme Court would set an alarming precedent for the legal industry, effectively rendering an entire layer of troughs redundant and their snouts homeless.

    Ain't gonna happen.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Of course their request has been refused

      Not sure about that this is about keeping the lawyers in port and truffles, it's more about due process and not trivialising the Supreme Court.

  6. EveryTime Silver badge

    I believe that Uber is investing in self-driving cars as a run-up to their IPO. Once they figured out they would be worth much more if they showed a roadmap to higher profitability, buying a self-driving car project was an easy call.

    As for making money, I'm sure that they do when there is a standard ride. But with their growth-at-all-costs strategy, they lose massive amounts of money on special deals and trying to enter new markets. I see first-time-user and special event discounts all of the time. And drivers can get special bonuses e.g. $75 extra if they do ten rides in the next few hours. Apparently these are heavily abused, with apps that help drivers cheat by faking a ride. It's likely that Uber doesn't even care that this happens, as they are buying the transactions just to show explosive growth to investors.

    Now Uber is in a tight spot. They have incentivized drivers to stay logged in when not driving, and even to fake driving for hours at a time to collect a bonus. They can't very well tell the regulators "we know they weren't actually working, we were just cooking the books".

  7. Horse Sense

    Uber subsidises every trip it does. This is to run the competition out of business. It must now try to reduce costs and can only achieve this by the introduction of driverless cars. If this can't be achieved in the next 3 to 5 years then the Silicone funds will dry up and it's goodbye to Uber.If I was an equity paid staff member,sell out now while you can.Sell,sell,sell...The writing is on the wall.Blind Freddie can see it.

  8. C. P. Cosgrove
    WTF?

    "Chair Rachel Reeves -

    She also asked for information on when driver hour limits would be introduced in the UK, and what those limits would be, per day and per week, per driver."

    They were introduced sometime in the 1930s and are known as 'The Domestic Regulations' and apply to all commercial/business vehicle driving not governed by the National Regulations which are derived from EU law. I cannot readily quote them as it is the best part of 30 years since I last had occasion to look at them but anybody using a vehicle for business related purposes - not leisure or domestic - who is not subject to the National Regulations is subject to the Domestic Regulations.

    In any case is there not more recent regulation, again descending from EU law, on the subject of maximum hours working regulations ?

    Chris Cosgrove

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Opt out

      "In any case is there not more recent regulation, again descending from EU law, on the subject of maximum hours working regulations ?"

      My experience in the UK was any job that I might even potentially have to work more than 20 hours a week asked me to "voluntarily" opt out of the working hours directive.

      However I wasn't driving anything, so I'd hope there was some rules preventing people from being on the road for excessive hours.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Opt out

        20 hours a week asked me to "voluntarily" opt out of the working hours directive.

        From memory - you can entirely opt-out. You can opt to be allowed to work longer hours than standard but I don't think you can opt out of the directive entirely.

        Someone Who Knows wil be along shortly..

  9. DainB Bronze badge

    Driverless Uber ?

    Ok, let's try to turn the brain on for once, first time in this thread for sure.

    Current business model - IT shop - run database and app and charge drivers 20% of their earnings while drivers own and maintain their own cars.

    Driverless business model - Transport Company - own or lease lots of self-driving cars and earn 100% of money moving people around but also spend money on car maintenance, rego, fuel, cleaning, etc, etc.

    Which one you think is (potentially in case of Uber) more profitable ?

    1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Driverless Uber ?

      "Which one you think is (potentially in case of Uber) more profitable ?"

      The 20% of earnings, 0% of liabilities one. Massively more profitable since the marginal cost of adding another vehicle is negligible.

      If Uber wanted to be a transport company, owning or hiring vehicles and employing drivers they would do so already.

      They don't want that, since it's not "disruptive". Or in plain English, there already exists a large body of legislation covering transport companies, taxi dispatchers, private hire vehicles, background checks, minimum wage, paid breaks and leave et al, and those are all costs that Uber currently avoids.

      In the same way, once/if driverless cars that are licenced to carry passengers are working and allowed on our road, Uber will still make more profit by taking 20% of the earnings of an asset owned and maintained by someone else.

      In general, it's a great deal more profitable being a middleman than being either buyer of seller.

      1. DainB Bronze badge

        Re: Driverless Uber ?

        Driverless cars will became mainstream when VW, Ford, Toyota and other major car manufacturers start making them. And guess what ? It's not that hard to develop an app to order one of those self driving Toyota cars to your door and tell it where you need to go.

        Where's Uber in that picture ? Where it belongs, two meters underground, long overdue.

  10. doug_bostrom

    Formal admission from Uber that they are rooted in the same past and share the same history and limitations as the rest of the world is an existential threat to the firm. The company needs to prove that the rest of the world is crazy for participating in the social contract. It's a hard case to make.

  11. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Appeal is an intransitve verb (applies to protest as well)

    Please stop copy & pasting from sloppy US journalists!

    See the OED for correct usage https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/appeal_2

  12. PeterM42
    Facepalm

    They will regret it.....

    James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam will wonder where they went wrong if Uber finally lose as Uber will shut down and they will have to go back to taxi-ing the old fashioned way.

    Same situation with delivery companies like Hermes and DPD.

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