The case is yet one more thorn within the facet for scandal-rocked Uber, which has drawn the fury of native taxi drivers and officers for flouting native rules.
It additionally comes the identical week as one in every of its drivers admitted to the tried rape and homicide of a British embassy employee coming residence from an evening out in Beirut, Lebanon.
Uber, the most important title within the exploding gig economic system, claims it’s a mere service supplier, connecting shoppers with drivers in additional than 600 cities.
But it surely has run into big opposition from taxi firms and different opponents who say this enables it to dodge expensive rules resembling coaching and licensing necessities for drivers and automobiles.
The case was introduced by a taxi drivers’ affiliation within the Spanish metropolis of Barcelona, the place perception runs excessive that Uber is a taxi firm that needs to be topic to guidelines governing such automobiles.
The courtroom’s senior advisor, Advocate Normal Maciej Szpunar agreed in an opinion in Might arguing that Uber “while progressive, falls throughout the area of transport”.
“Uber can thus be required to acquire the mandatory licences and authorisations underneath nationwide legislation,” he stated.
A ROUGH RIDE
The corporate reacted sharply, saying the opinion would change little in apply and solely hurt innovation.
“To be thought-about a transport firm won’t change the rules we’re topic to in most European international locations,” a spokesman for Uber stated.
“It’ll nevertheless harm the mandatory reform of outdated legal guidelines which stop hundreds of thousands of Europeans with the ability to discover a dependable experience with only one click on,” the spokesman stated.
The opinions given by the ECJ’s advocate generals — its high attorneys — are sometimes adopted by the courtroom’s judges.
Uber has had a tough experience in Spain, the place a choose dominated in 2014 that its UberPop service risked breaking the legislation, resulting in the Barcelona submission to the ECJ.
Early final yr it determined to solely function a restricted a model of its UberX service in Spain which makes use of licensed, skilled drivers as an alternative of the amateurs who had beforehand labored by way of the UberPop utility.
Uber has already had issues with the legislation in a number of European international locations, significantly France the place the corporate was compelled to overtake its enterprise mannequin.
In November a labour courtroom in London, the place the corporate is threatened with shedding its license, stated it needed to pay the drivers a minimal wage and provides them paid depart.
Uber doesn’t make use of drivers or personal automobiles, however as an alternative depends on non-public contractors with their very own vehicles, permitting them to run their very own companies.
Licensed taxi drivers in the meantime typically must bear a whole lot of hours of coaching, and so they accuse Uber of endangering their jobs by utilizing extra reasonably priced drivers who want solely a GPS to get round.