Popular ride-sharing app Uber has lost an appeal against a ruling of employment rights requested by drivers.
"Our clients have fought tirelessly to gain the rights that they clearly should have been afforded from the outset", Paul Jennings from law firm Bates Wells Braithwaite said in a statement.
The US ride-hailing app appealed against the ruling, insisting its drivers were self-employed.
Uber immediately said it would appeal against Friday's decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in central London.
The appeal upheld the ruling saying the tribunal's original decision was "neither inconsistent nor perverse", and dismissing claims by Uber that it was merely acting as an agency.
In the era of the gig economy, it's possible to argue for both positions here but all over the world, Uber drivers have vented frustration at the higher standards and lower fares that competition brings.
However, Tom Elvidge, the company's acting general manager in the United Kingdom, said the firm intends to appeal Friday's ruling.
What Uber does to check the backgrounds of its drivers was thrust into the spotlight after Sayfullo Saipov, the 29-year-old suspect in last week's NY truck attack, was revealed to have driven more than 1,400 trips for Uber in the past six months. "We've also invested in things like access to illness and injury cover", he said.
Although Uber claims that 80 percent of the workforce would rather be self-employed, a tribunal ruled previous year that two drivers - James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam were Uber staff.
They are supported by the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) trade union, which also represents couriers, cleaners, foster carers and security officers.
Ahead of the ruling, an Uber spokesman told AFP that whatever the result, it "will not necessarily be the end of the process and we expect either side would appeal".
Uber meanwhile is now fighting a decision by London authorities not to renew its licence, owing to public safety concerns.
The move could affect as many as 40,000 Uber drivers in Britain, the company's largest market in Europe, where about 3.5 million people use the service.