It’s a symbolically important victory for FNV. The union has been wrestling over self-employed status for some time. In many sectors, according to the union, employees are deployed as self-employed in order to save on labor costs. Drivers will earn very little and hardly any rights, and thus employers will evade taxes and Social Security contributions.
“This statement illustrates what we have said for years: Uber is an employer and drivers are employees, so Uber must abide by the collective labor agreement for taxi transportation,” said FNV Vice President Zakaria Buffengasha. “It is also a signal to The Hague that these types of construction are illegal and that the law must therefore be enforced.”
Uber asserted that it is just a platform where passengers and drivers meet, but the judge disagrees. The fact that drivers must agree to terms set by Uber in order to be allowed onto the platform means they are entering into an agreement. “The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of the employment contract,” the ruling reads.
Moritz Schönefeld, Uber’s Northern Europe manager, says he is disappointed with the ruling. “Because we know that the vast majority of drivers want to remain independent. Drivers do not want to give up the freedom to choose if, where, when and with whom. In the interests of the drivers, we are appealing the judge’s ruling, while we continue to work to improve the working of the platform in the Netherlands.”
The judge said that as a result of the ruling, Uber drivers are automatically hired and the company must pay them and treat them in accordance with a collective labor agreement for taxi transportation. “As a result, they receive more wages and more rights in the event of, for example, dismissal or illness,” claims Buffengasha. “All things that should not be more than normal in a country like ours. It is disgraceful that the Cabinet is not taking action against these kinds of practices.”
In the Netherlands, an estimated 4,000 drivers drive Uber.
Earlier, a judge in the UK ruled that the 70,000 drivers are entitled to minimum wage, vacation pay and rest days. Drivers must be treated as ‘workers’, a definition in British labor law that falls between a self-employed person and an employee.
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