Netherlands court deals blow to Uber, ruling drivers are employees
Uber Technologies lost another suit over its drivers’ working rights after an Amsterdam court ruled workers who ferry passengers using the Uber app in the Netherlands are covered by a local collective labour law.
The legal relationship between Uber and its drivers meets all of the characteristics of an employment contract, the court said in its judgment. Uber must apply the Collective Labour Agreement for taxi transport to protect drivers, allowing them in some cases to claim overdue salary. Uber was also ordered to pay the local union, FNV, €50,000 ($59,000) in compensation for failing to comply with the agreement.
Uber said it would appeal. “We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent,” Maurits Schönfeld, Uber’s GM Northern Europe said in a statement. “Drivers don’t want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work.”
UBER EXPECTS THE RULING TO HAVE MAJOR IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TAXI SECTOR
A spokesperson for Uber said the company has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands. It expects the ruling to have major implications for the entire taxi sector, and will assess the potential implications of the decision, he said.
Uber is fighting labour unions, civil rights groups and even Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren in the US over benefits for its drivers. In the UK Uber earlier this year lost a lawsuit over whether its drivers are workers, forcing the company to formally recognise a labour union that will give its drivers greater collective bargaining powers.
The FNV union called Monday’s ruling a “big win”, and said that the verdict means the Uber drivers should automatically be considered employed by the company.