BRIGHTON City Council is facing a lawsuit over its decision to grant Uber a “blank cheque” to continue operating.
The cab-hailing app’s licence to operate in the East Sussex seaside town had been extended for six months, the local authority announced yesterday.
But general union GMB, which won an employment tribunal case seeking workers’ rights for Uber drivers last month, said the decision was “deeply disappointing.”
Uber insists that drivers are self-employed, but the tribunal ruled that they were in fact workers entitled to the minimum wage, holiday pay and other rights.
In September, Transport for London revoked Uber’s licence to operate in the capital.
“GMB is deeply disappointed by Brighton and Hove City Council’s absurd decision today to give Uber a blank cheque to continue operating in the city,” GMB national secretary Justin Bowden said yesterday.
“If Brighton and Hove had no concerns, they would have extended the licence for the full five-year term. The fact they have limited renewal to six months suggests that there are concerns that they are failing to fully disclose to the public.
Mr Bowden said the council had “failed to act within their regulatory responsibilities,” adding that the union would take legal action on that basis.
But a council spokeswoman said: “The decision on the length of the extension was taken to allow the council to monitor the outcome of the TfL Uber decision, and consider whether any of the information arising from the case had direct implications for the operation in the city.
“It also allows the council more time to negotiate with Uber about a number of proposed conditions for operating in the city.”