Taxi app Uber has lost its bid to overturn a decision by a tribunal which says its drivers deserved workers' rights such as the minimum wage, in a blow to the company as it also battles to keep its licence in London.
On Friday Uber immediately said it would appeal to higher courts against Friday's decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in central London.
The US ride-hailing service has faced regulatory and legal setbacks around the world amid opposition from traditional taxi services and concern among some regulators. It has been forced to quit several countries, such as Denmark and Hungary.
Last year, two drivers successfully argued at a British employment tribunal that Uber exerted significant control over them to provide an on-demand taxi service and should grant them workers' rights such as holiday entitlement and rest breaks.
That decision did not automatically apply to the app's 50,000 drivers in Britain, but was seen as likely to prompt more claims.
It could benefit workers at thousands of companies including firms in the "gig economy", where individuals work for multiple employers without a fixed contract, such as courier Deliveroo.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which backed the two drivers, said these companies were "choosing to deprive workers of their rights".
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Uber says its drivers enjoy the flexibility of their work and are self-employed, entitling them in British law to only basic entitlements such as health and safety.
The firm argued in September that its drivers operate in the same way as minicabs, or private hire vehicles, which sprung up in Britain more than 50 years ago.
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On Friday it confirmed it would appeal against the latest decision. A spokesman said the company had 14 days to submit its application and decide whether to apply to take the case to the Supreme Court, Britain's top judicial body.
Yaseen Aslam, one of the drivers involved in the case, said they would continue their fight to ensure workers' rights were respected.