Saturday 28 May 2022

Dutch trade union takes Uber to court over freelance drivers

Trade union FNV is taking online taxi company Uber to court in an effort to force it to pay drivers in line with the sector’s own pay deal.

Uber, FNV spokesman Amrit Sewgobind told broadcaster NOS, manages drivers as if they are employees. ‘They have to keep to the taxi company rules and that means they should be paid in line with the sector agreement,’ Sewgobind said.

Maurits Schönfeld, Uber’s northern Europe director, told NOS that the union is serving its own interests. Drivers, he said, ‘value the full flexibility which being free not to work on a Tuesday afternoon’ gives them.’

In the UK, Uber has been forced by legal action to recognise drivers as workers, giving them the right to earn a minimum wage and holiday pay.

The FNV has already taken meal delivery service Deliveroo and cleaning company Helpling to court on similar grounds. It largely won the Deliveroo case but the company has appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Netherlands is also looking at bringing in legislation which would give people earning less than €30 or €35 an hour as a freelancer the right to request a proper contract, although it is unclear if this will become part of the new coalition agreement.

Caretaker social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has already said that the way to strengthen the position of gig economy workers would be to give them an automatic right to a fixed contract.

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