Weeks after UKs top court ruled that shooked up the Britain’s wider gig economy of 5.5 million people, Uber finally granted UK drivers worker status. This status will benefit thousands of workers and will include the minimum wage. Furthermore, the ride-hailing app promised to give drivers holiday pay and pension.
This is a massive update and change in the business model by a ride-hailing app that argued before Britain’s Supreme Court that its drivers are self-employed.
In its statement, Uber said, “more than 70,000 drivers in the UK will be treated as workers, earning at least the national living wage when driving with Uber. This is a floor and not a ceiling, with drivers able to earn more.”
Last month, the UK court ruled that Uber’s drivers are entitled to get complete worker’s rights.
Flexible will remain
Uber in its statement also said, “Workers’ rights means, drivers will earn with greater security, helping them to plan for their futures while maintaining the flexibility that is integral to the private-hire industry.”
The higher cost for Uber comes as it is already facing sliding driver bookings owing to the pandemic, despite strong demand for Uber Eats service during the same time.
“We’ve come to recognise that platforms like ours will work differently in different countries,” Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in an editorial published in the Evening Standard
“The future of work is too big of an issue for a one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s OK,” said Khosrowshahi – who has previously argued for a “third way” to classify gig workers, rather than as employees or independent contractors.
The decision by Uber is welcomed by the Services Employees International Union. It said, “This debunks nearly a decade of scare tactics from rideshare companies like Uber and makes clear that Uber can choose at any time to properly classify their drivers and pay them a living wage with good benefits,” SEIU president Mary Kay Henry said in response to an AFP inquiry.
This British ruling for Uber drivers comes after California’s top court upheld a referendum that let “gig workers” like Uber are treated as contractors.
The legislation called as Proposition 22 passed in November last year effectively overturned the state law requiring ride-hailing app Uber to reclassify their drivers and provide complete benefits.
Similarly in Italy, prosecutors told Uber Eats along with other delivery platforms that their drivers aren’t independent workers and fined EUR 733 million (roughly Rs. 6,330 crore).