Uber pressured workers to resign, breaking Dutch labour law: NRC

Photo: Dutch News

Taxi company Uber pressured almost 200 staff at its European headquarters in Amsterdam into leaving the company before the redundancies had been approved by state benefit agency UVW, the NRC reported on Saturday.

Uber announced in May that it would sack 25% of its 27,000 global workforce as the coronavirus pandemic kept people out of taxis and revenue plunged 80%. Some 1,000 people work for Uber in Amsterdam, mainly in app development, design, marketing and sales.

The company applied to the UWV for approval for the redundancies, as required in Dutch redundancy law, but before the agency could rule, nearly all the workers who were being let go had already signed the relevant paperwork and been given a financial pay-off, the paper said.

‘The workers who were affected were shut out of all the company’s systems the day after they were told they had to leave,’ the paper said. ‘They were also given a daily reminder about signing the agreement and told that their job would cease to exist.’

Many were expats from outside the EU with little knowledge of Dutch labour law, the paper said.

The NRC bases its claims on internal and external correspondence and interviews with nine Uber workers. They agreed to talk as long as their names were kept secret because, the NRC said, they are banned from talking to the press in their contracts.

Uber’s works council, the FNV trade union and the UWV all say Uber had great difficulty in justifying the redundancies, the NRC said. Nor was the works council informed in time.

Uber told the NRC that Dutch redundancy legislation was properly applied and the appropriate information was shared with the works council. The company also said its plans to move into a new, larger office in Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district remain unchanged.

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