Toronto Star

Dutch court rules Uber must pay drivers benefits


court in Amsterdam ruled Monday that Uber drivers fall under the Dutch taxi drivers’ collective labour agreement — meaning they are entitled to the same employment benefits as taxi drivers. Uber said it would appeal the ruling.

The Amsterdam civil court said in a statement that three judges ruled that the legal relationsh­ip between Uber and its drivers “conforms to all the characteri­stics of an employment contract.”

The Dutch workers’ organizati­on that brought the case called the decision a major victory for Uber drivers.

“This verdict shows what we have been saying for years: Uber is an employer and the drivers are employees, so Uber has to abide by the taxi traffic collective labor agreement,” Zakaria Boufangach­a, vice-chair of the Federation of Dutch Unions (FNV), said in a statement.

Uber, which has 4,000 drivers in Amsterdam, decried the ruling as a blow to the gig economy model.

“We are disappoint­ed with this decision because we know that the overwhelmi­ng majority of drivers wish to remain independen­t,” said Maurits Schönfeld, Uber’s general manager Northern Europe.

He added drivers “don’t want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work.”

An Uber spokespers­on said nothing would change for drivers using the app as the company appeals the ruling.

The court ordered Uber to pay the FNV 50,000 euros ($74,000) in damages for not adhering to the collective labour agreement.

FNV said the ruling means Uber drivers are entitled to more pay and have more rights if they are ill or have their employment terminated.

The Dutch court decision follows a similar ruling by Britain’s High Court in February that said Uber drivers are “workers” and not self-employed.

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