This scheme was all to lower their costs, as if Uber were to classify its drivers as workers, they would have workers’ rights. The right to be paid the national minimum wage, the ability to receive annual paid leave, and the benefit from certain other protections.
Specifically, Spain has aspired to amend its rules to give some gig economy workers, like Uber Eats drivers, employee rights such as collective bargaining – a process of negotiation between an employer and group of employees aiming to regulate salaries, conditions, benefits, compensations, rights, and so on.
Spain is on the path to become the first European Union (EU) country to adjust its laws to give their workers these rudimental rights.
The modification would ultimately change two aspects: it would give employee status to gig delivery workers in line with a court ruling, and it would give workers access to information about the algorithms affecting their work. These alterations aim to support the drivers, but may obstruct Uber’s presence in Spain depending on how they orchestrate to adapt their app to meet the new legislation’s requisites.
In 2016, Mr Aslam and Mr Farrar appealed to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, arguing that Uber drivers should be classified as workers because they consummate the terms. It was the 19th of February 2021, when the United Kingdom Supreme Court unanimously passed a judgement that elucidates that Uber drivers are in fact workers.
When reaching their verdict, Lord Leggat outlined the reasoning which cemented their honours final decision. It was from the position of power Uber has over its drivers through: remuneration paid to drivers for their work is fixed by Uber, the terms are dictated by Uber, and it is the driver’s choice to accept a request for rides that are constrained by Uber.
This eminent control Uber has over the amplitude of work its drivers can work, led the Court to conclude that Uber drivers are not private contractors but indeed workers.
Uber now seemingly owes its drivers the basic rights of workers, which could include: the legal minimum pay and annual paid leave.
The Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal have even outlined in 2016/17 that “any driver who has the App switched on, [and] is within the territory in which he is authorised to work, and is able and willing to accept assignments, is, for so long as those conditions are satisfied, working for Uber under a ‘worker’ contract.” Yet, Uber frequently deems drivers to be gig workers, and not employees- so that they are objected to inequitable standards and poor review practices.
Now that the United Kingdom has recognised Uber’s flaws publicly and lawfully, it sets a precedent, of sorts, for the rest of the world.
The real question is why is Australia still putting up with Uber’s unethical behaviour? We know it is wrong, yet it feels like the Australian government is watching Uber like a car spinning out of control with an inevitable fate.
More in our March 2021 issue here.
DRIVE NOW reports on various topics regarding the