Matthew Kirkby, MD of Hexham-based taxi firm ecocabs, has responded positively to the UK Supreme Court’s ruling against Uber last week.

In essence, judges ruled that Uber drivers cannot be considered self-employed.

Responding to the news, Matthew Kirkby said, “This judgment has huge implications for the gig economy in this country. 83 per cent of drivers are self-employed according to the Department for Transport’s 2020 statistics. However, we’re proud to say that the ruling won’t have any impact on our business or the prices that we charge. This is because our drivers are employees with full rights to holiday pay, pensions, sickness pay and so on.  This has always been the way that we do business at ecocabs, but it’s rare in the taxi industry.“

The name ecocabs was chosen by Matthew Kirkby, back in 2006, not just because he had concerns about the environment, but because he wanted to build the company in a conscious, ethical way.  He said: “This business is not part of the gig economy. We take our drivers on as employees. They’re a vital part of what we do and they deserve rights such as sickness pay.”

ecocabs has found that employing taxi drivers this way leads to longer length of service and having more knowledgeable drivers.  The firm has found that offering stable employment means attracts high-quality candidates – many drivers are former professionals such as retired police officers, engineers and teachers.

Matthew Kirkby said, “I believe that the Supreme Court ruling is positive news for the taxi industry as a whole. It should mean that companies like ecocabs can compete on a more equal footing with those such as Uber. The gig economy has been chipping away at workers’ rights, but we all deserve to be treated with respect.”