Saturday 18 September 2021

Uber drivers are employees not freelancers, says Amsterdam court

Drivers for the ride sharing app Uber are employees of the company and fall under the taxi sector’s collective labour agreement, judges in Amsterdam said on Monday.

The lawsuit was brought by trade union FNV, which filed a complaint in June, arguing that Uber was underpaying drivers and treating them as employees, rather than independent contractors.

Uber argued that it is merely a technology company that connects riders to drivers, but the court was unconvinced. ‘The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract,’ the court found.

‘Real self-employed workers can determine their own rates and determine how they carry out their work. This is not the case with drivers who drive for Uber. Uber determines the hourly rate, who can or cannot access the app, who gets which ride and how the rides are carried out,’ union spokesman Zakaria Boufangacha said in a statement.

This is the second win for the FNV over independent contractors, having won a similar case against food delivery company Deliveroo earlier this year. Deliveroo has appealed against that decision to the Dutch supreme court.

Uber plans to appeal as well. ‘We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent,’ Maurits Schönfeld, Uber’s general manager for northern Europe said in a statement.

Uber was also ordered to pay a fine of €50,000.

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