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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:16 pm 
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We also have to remember that the Mingeley case was a case of alleged racial discrimination, not a case about 'workers' status.

The Justices also didn't necessarily agree with the decision in Mingeley, they just gave an opinion as to why that decision is irrelevant to the case they had at hand.

But as I alluded to in the post above, the Justices gave five reasons as to why Uber drivers should be viewed as 'workers' as defined in the Minimum Wage Act. None of those five reasons related to Uber taking a cut of the take.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:43 pm 
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Congratulations Stuart on the use of the word Neologisms.

I hope that I wasn't the only one who needed to google it.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 12:27 pm 
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Tom Thumb wrote:
Congratulations Stuart on the use of the word Neologisms.

I hope that I wasn't the only one who needed to google it.

Neologism is a new word on most people. Geddit? :lol: :oops:

I actually put a dictionary link to the word in my post. But the links on here are a very light blue, so because of the colours used on the forum they're not that easy to see, or at least that's the case on my screen.

StuartW wrote:
Likewise, people who don't know the trade thinks that terms like 'riders', the 'gig economy' and 'ride-hailing' somehow make it all very different, but to me they're just 'neologisms' rather than anything particularly new in the trade.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:01 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
I suspect the flat fee arose in the first place because of how difficult it would have been in 1990 (say) to charge based on a %age, which would have been very labour intensive to work out.

Just thinking about this, and can you imagine how much work this would have entailed back in the days of pen and paper, and how much disputes would have been caused?

So after every run every driver would have to tell base its value, base would have to record it, and calculate a percentage of the run, and add it all up. So a lot of work.

Then, of course, the week's totals would have to be added up, and a payment made to the office. So each car would have their own figures from the week. And the car's owner would check their figures were the same as recorded by the office. Would they tally? NO CHANCE! So it would probably entail an hour's work just to tally the figures recorded by each individual car with the figures recorded by the office, even assuming the ever could be tallied.

So I suspect that's why flat fees became the norm in the first place. But when Uber started and wanted to encourage its gig economy model, with the advances in software by that time they wouldn't have even had to think about the practicalities of working the %age figures out.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:02 pm 
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By the way, not sure how common it is in the mainstream trade, and I suspect it's more common in smaller, more traditional offices, but the only proper office I've worked for here in St Andrews *did* record the value of every run :-o

In *theory* I think there were two purposes to this. First, to ensure that all cars had roughly similar totals at the end of the shift (or, to ensure that favoured cars always had better totals :roll: )

Second, the 40% drivers would be paid on the basis of the car's shift total, obviously, and the office kept totals rather than rely on the meter totals (don't get me started on that). So there were often disputes between drivers and the office about the totals at the end of the shift, and not difficult to work out why. I was a sole owner-driver so I simply didn't bother with that kind of thing.

Then, of course, even though I think individual runs were recorded by the office to stop cheating via the meter, there were still plently of sharp practices went on. For example, a driver would 'blow in' a value less than the actual run was worth, so wouldn't have to pay 40% on the difference (eg it's a £10 run but he claims it's £8).

And although most of the cars were hacks, they were doing mostly pre-booked work. But if a driver did hack a run, they might not shout it in, so could pocket the whole fare :shock: (Obviously easier on short runs, but amazing the amount of drivers seen on the other side of town from where they were supposed to be, or even out of town :-o )

Anyway, that's digressing a bit, but important to underline that although the value of every fare was recorded, this was nothing to do with the fee paid to the office, which was still a fixed amount per car.

And, of course, every office or town will have similar sharp practices, even with the latest apps and GPS.

But that's why I suspect the flat fee system became the norm in the first place, although I'm sure some old hands in the trade might know better than me.

But that's one reason I think that as far as employment status is concerned, flat v %age fees are a total irrelevance [-(


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:07 pm 
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Do not think there is anything as a flat fee, most offices charge a fee (bit)for working there and then an additional % for any contract work done.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:21 pm 
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heathcote wrote:
Do not think there is anything as a flat fee, most offices charge a fee (bit)for working there and then an additional % for any contract work done.

Suspect it depends on the value of the contracts in relation to other work, or of course if individual drivers are actually doing bigger, contract runs.

Not sure about school runs etc, but the office I mentioned above just lumped account work in with the normal stuff as far as the daily totals were concerned, so still a flat fee.

And the bigger jobs like airport runs were recorded seperately to ensure everyone got their turn. But again, didn't impact on the flat fee basis.

But to a degree you prove my point - the contract stuff more likely to be bigger value and fixed price, so the value likely to be recorded anyway, and less likely to be disputed, so a bit easier to work out a %age figure.

And, of course, with the level of technology and automation these days it would be easier for *all* offices to move to %age fees, for some if not all work.

So my point was more about a *legacy* basis for flat fees and its impact on employment status, rather than how things might work if the trade was reinvented from scratch tomorrow :-o


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 4:16 pm 
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''So to me apps and charging methods are irrelevant. And I don't get some of your earlier points such as Uber having the contact details of 'riders'. I mean, who retains the punters' details in a minicab office?''

To reply to your question, let me explain how uber works in practice (in case you don't know or for benefit of those who don't know).
So, anyone who wishes to use uber has to create an account with them and they will need your phone number, personal detains and payment method. Most likely the payment method is a credit/debit card. They also have your ''home'' address.
They use your card to collect payment at the end of your journey once the driver has ''ended'' the journey. It is the uber app which calculates the cost based on distance travelled and waiting time.

The point I make about uber keeping records of the riders is that they are in sole control of those details whilst the driver does not have any contact details of the rider. Even when the driver communicates with the rider it is done via uber connectivity i.e. the call is made via the app.
The driver is never given any details of the rider apart from their first name and the destination is given to the driver after the rider has been picked up.
This makes uber the main contractor since it is uber that will send an invoice to the rider and not the driver.
This is why uber keep records of the riders.
Without such an account uber will not supply the vehicle although they were talking about making it possible to allow drivers to accept cash payments.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 5:55 pm 
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CheshireBest wrote:
To reply to your question, let me explain how uber works in practice (in case you don't know or for benefit of those who don't know).

Thanks for the detail, but I'm not really sure how that impacts on the employment status question. Of course, an office will hold less customer information for cash trips, but the information that is held is generally not available to the driver. And where offices offer account facilities and/or apps and/or card payments then I'm assuming the information they hold is not dissimilar to Uber, and won't be shared with drivers?

CheshireBest wrote:
The point I make about Uber keeping records of the riders is that they are in sole control of those details whilst the driver does not have any contact details of the rider.

But that's it in a nuthsell - what's the difference between Uber and any other firm in that regard? Maybe Uber has more contact details than a mainstream office, but in neither case do the drivers have access to that info.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 7:02 pm 
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Quote:
But that's one reason I think that as far as employment status is concerned, flat v %age fees are a total irrelevance [-(

Indeed, else the Justices would have said so.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:34 pm 
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''But that's it in a nuthsell - what's the difference between Uber and any other firm in that regard? Maybe Uber has more contact details than a mainstream office, but in neither case do the drivers have access to that info.''

uber also do All the invoicing to riders so I presume that makes uber the principals rather than agents as they claim.
uber also control the behaviour and performance of the drivers with their rating system which is used to log off drivers (take them off air) and in some cases remove the driver from their system altogether.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:06 am 
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Thing is the Supreme Court didn’t really look into the principle/agent issue. That’s not because they missed it, it’s because it was irrelevant to the issues they had at hand.

The issues they had they dealt with in the 5 reasons comments they made.

Worker status is all about control, the issues of pay and how operators receive and pay out fares is an issue that is for HMRC and has virtually nothing to do with control.

Which is why the take Uber takes, and how Uber processes fares, didn’t appear in the five reasons.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:38 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Thing is the Supreme Court didn’t really look into the principle/agent issue. That’s not because they missed it, it’s because it was irrelevant to the issues they had at hand.


It definitely was looked at because uber claimed they were mere agents for the drivers in question which was rejected by the SC.


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Which is why the take Uber takes, and how Uber processes fares, didn’t appear in the five reasons.


Probably because the SC stuck to the arguments raised in the case by both sides. Doesn't mean it is not relevant. In my view that is a very important point which forms a employer/employee relationship. Most self employed people will bill you and collect the money due for work done. uber collects the money thereby making them principals in the matter.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:27 pm 
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Any further claims will have to go to the Employment Tribunal, should an agreement between parties not happen.

If we go back to the beginning of Uber v the drivers you will see that the agent/principal situation was never an issue.

https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/upl ... 161028.pdf

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 7:44 pm 
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Having just reread the Mingeley case it's clear the agent/principal issue wasn't discussed or decided on. Possibly as it was a claim under the 1976 Race Relations Act, rather than the later 1998 Minimum Wage Act.

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2004/328.html

Another thing I noticed was that the Judges in the Mingeley case mentioned that they were surprised parliament hadn't dealt with self-employed folks in relation to racial discrimination matters, and they weren't given the same protection as employed folks.

In short Mr Mingeley lost because the law didn't allow him to claim racial discrimination (as that act didn't allow self-employed folks to claim), he didn't lose because the operator didn't take a cut of his take.

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