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European Union court sides with taxis in Uber ruling

22 Декабря 2017

Hoang Thi Ha Giang, Deputy Director of the Tax Policy Department, said clear regulations were needed to efficiently collect taxes from Uber and Grab, which was stil a headache.

"The service provided by Uber connecting individuals with non-professional drivers is covered by services in the field of transport", the European Court of Justice wrote in their decision.

When all is said and done, Uber and firms like it will have to comply with strict transport and labor regulations across the EU.

Uber has taken the fight to regulators and established taxi and cab companies, expanding from a Silicon Valley startup to a business with a valuation of $68 billion.

Harford, who sits on the board of airline company United Continental Holdings Inc., will oversee global ride-hailing operations, marketing, customer support, and the company's food-delivery business.

Tho said rapid technology development was posing challenges to State management agencies due to confusion in defining whether Uber and Grab were technology platforms connecting passengers with drivers or transportation companies.

In contrast, rules for digital platforms - which the company had argued it was - are set Europe-wide. The ruling could also affect other companies that are making similar claims of being only an intermediary service and not an active participant in the industry they're trying to disrupt.

The decision stands to increase legal risks for other "gig-economy" companies - including Airbnb - a growing part of the workforce, in which people operate as freelancers or on short-term contracts as opposed to holding permanent jobs.

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The Uber case before the European Court of Justice centered on a complaint brought by a taxi group based in Barcelona, Spain.

"It was about time to put an end to the unfair competition of the gig-economy companies that are no more than killer whales in a fish tank", said Raul Lopez, a taxi owner who has been driving the streets in the Mediterranean port city for 17 years.

And the European Trade Union Confederation said in a statement that the judgment will help drivers get fair wages and conditions.

The Uber letter also said that 2.6 percent of United Kingdom drivers are logged in for more than 70 hours a week, and 0.8 percent for more than 80 hours.

The company has rejected that argument, saying it will harm innovation.

"The goal of those rules is to make sure online innovators can achieve greater scalability and competitiveness in the European Union, unfettered from undue national restrictions", Jakob Kucharczyk, vice president for European Union policy at the Computer and Communications Industry Association, told Reuters. The ruling could have massive implications on the ride-hailing company.

The ECJ's ruling gave additional credence to such decisions, posing a real threat to Uber's future growth plans.

And it's likely that member states will act accordingly.

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European Union court sides with taxis in Uber ruling