Wednesday 20 January 2021

Uber barred from sacking 10 staff who refused to take redundancy

Online taxi agency Uber has been refused permission to sack workers at its international headquarters in Amsterdam, the NRC has reported.

State jobs agency UWV, which has to assess all formal applications for redundancy, has ruled that there were no valid grounds for dismissal because the company could not demonstrate that the downturn in the workload was structural.

The UWV also referred to comments made by Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who told a staff meeting on September 1 that the job cuts, first announced in May, were more severe than strictly necessary.

The decision is being seen as a vindication for some 10 Uber workers who refused to leave when the company pressured almost 200 staff in Amsterdam into leaving before the redundancies had been approved by the UVW.

Uber announced in May that it would sack 25% of its 27,000 global workforce as the coronavirus pandemic has led to an 80% drop in its revenue. 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 by 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 paid off, the NRC said earlier this month.

Systems

‘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.

Uber has not yet commented on the UWV’s findings. However, the FNV union’s spokesman on taxi platforms, Amrit Sewgobind, told the NRC he was very pleased with the UWV’s decision.

‘This shows a powerful company like Uber has to comply with Dutch redundancy law if it wants to sack staff,’ he said.

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