Uber suffered an important labor defeat in its largest European market on Friday when Britain’s Supreme Court ruled that the ride-hailing firm’s drivers must be classified as workers entitled to a minimum wage and vacation time.

The case had been closely watched because of its ramifications for the gig economy, in which companies like Uber rely on a sprawling labor force of independent contractors to provide car rides, deliver food and clean homes.

Uber and other gig economy companies say their business model gives people flexibility to choose when they work, while critics say it has eroded job protections and the traditional company-employee relationship.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that although Uber said it was only a technology platform that connected drivers with passengers, it behaved more like an employer by setting rates, assigning rides, requiring drivers to follow certain routes and using a rating system to discipline drivers.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/19/business/uber-drivers-britain.html