Should the Uber taxi platform hire drivers, or is it a good thing that they – as now – continue to be self-employed? According to the trade union FNV, the construction the company uses is not good and most drivers earn less than minimum wage. Today, the union is asking a judge to compel Uber to adjust its policy and pay in accordance with its taxi transport collective labor agreement.
The suit begins at 09.30 in Amsterdam. In order to impress the judge, the union takes the stories of about twenty drivers. Some of them are actually in court. Uber, in turn, takes on the experiences of about a dozen drivers who say they really appreciate the freedom to drive with Uber.
“Carrying passengers is the most important thing they do and Uber is a taxi company,” said Amrit Segobind of the FNV union. “They direct the drivers as if they were employees. So they must also comply with the rules of the taxi companies and pay according to the applicable collective labor agreement.”
If the union is right, drivers can claim a contract if they no longer wish to work as piecework. Amsterdam has about 4,000 Uber drivers. “They receive a stable income, hourly wages in accordance with a collective labor agreement, protection from dismissal, more certainty about their working hours, employee participation in the company and car costs are no longer self-employed.” According to Sewgobind, every driver who talks to the union is now dissatisfied.
Uber says it hears from the vast majority that they are satisfied with their situation. “We believe that FNV primarily serves the interests of the FNV and not the interests of the drivers,” says Moritz Schönefeld, director of Uber Northern Europe. “Being able to set their own day, and decide not to work on Tuesday afternoon, the next day at the taxi company, that complete flexibility is greatly appreciated.”
The company says that long before Uber arrived, drivers were self-employed. Both Uber and FNV expect the legal battle to continue for years.
FNV has previously filed cases against meal delivery company Deliveroo and cleanup of the Helpling app. The case against Deliveroo was won, and the case against Helpling was largely lost.
However, practically nothing has changed for Deliveroo senders. The company has long appealed the rulings, as a result of which the conductors are still self-employed. The court ruled that in a meal delivery service, the relationship between the deliverers and the company is very similar to an employment contract. The freedom that the saviors enjoy does not affect this.
Uber thinks building into their company is very different. “This case is separate from the Deliveroo case,” Schoenfeld says. “The driver has to make a much more investment to be able to start as an entrepreneur, for example in the car and training.”
Cases have been filed against Uber in several European countries, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Belgium. In the UK, Uber has categorized around 70,000 drivers as Factor, which gives them the right to a minimum wage and vacation pay. The company notes that this rating is only available in the UK.