LONDON – For years, Uber has successfully deployed armies of advocacy lobbyists around the world to fight to reclassify drivers as highly paid employees with benefits, rather than low, self-employed workers.
The swimming giant is now retreating to one of its strongest markets in Britain, following this tough stance after a major legal defeat.
Uber said on Tuesday it had classified more than 70,000 drivers in the UK as workers on minimum wage, vacation pay and pension benefits. The decision, according to Uber, is the first time the company has agreed to classify its drivers in this category, in response to a significant ruling by the British Supreme Court last month that gave Uber drivers more protection.
The decision is reversing for Uber, although the move has been made easy by British labor rules, which offer “full-time employees” from independent professionals who do not exist in other countries. This average level makes it unclear whether Uber will change its position elsewhere. More labor battles are expected in the European Union, with policymakers discussing tightening labor laws for household companies, as well as the United States.
The fragile business model of Uber և’s other so-called gig-economy companies depends on reducing labor costs by using a wide network of employees as an independent contractor. Although services have changed the way people travel, take orders, and have been valued by investors at billions of dollars, they are struggling to make a profit. In 2020, Uber reported a net loss of $ 6.8 billion.
Uber has challenged previous regulations, arguing that it only serves as a technology platform that connects drivers and passengers. But the judges of the British Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Uber behaves more like an employer, setting rates, setting walks, and requiring drivers to follow certain routes.
The court ruling was encouraged by labor activists who for years criticized Uber, Lyft, DoorDash և Grubhub’s treatment of drivers և shippers.
In Britain, Uber initially tried to underestimate the decision of the Supreme Court. The company said the decision would apply only to a very small number of drivers in the UK. But the company risked getting involved in litigation with individual drivers across the UK.
Uber said that from Wednesday, all drivers in the UK will be defined as “employees” in the legal category in the country, which gives drivers the right to a minimum wage or vacation. It does not provide full protection for a classification known as a full-time employee, which includes paternity, maternity leave, and severance pay, among other benefits.
In a statement, Uber said last month’s court ruling “provides a clearer path to the model that gives drivers the right to employee status.” At the same time, it allows them to work flexibly, just as they did before Uber was launched in the UK. In 2012. “
Uber said drivers will receive the country’s minimum wage once they accept a request to swim until the driver is dropped off, but not while waiting for someone to request a ride. Drivers can still earn more if the fare is higher than the minimum wage, as is often the case, says Uber. From April 1, the UK minimum wage for people over 25 will be 8 8.91 ($ 12.40).
For the holidays, drivers will receive 12% of their salary, which is paid every two weeks, which is a calculation set by the government.
Uber did not say how much the reclassification of British drivers would increase its costs, but the regulatory document states that this does not change the company’s goal of becoming profitable this year. London is one of Uber’s five largest markets, with the UK accounting for about 6.4% of the company’s total bookings.
Amy Haywood, Uber’s Regional Director for North East Europe, is pressuring other companies to adopt a similar policy in the UK.
“Uber is just one part of a larger private leasing industry, so we hope all other operators will join us in improving the quality of the work of these potential employees, who are an important part of our daily lives,” he said in a statement. ,