European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

Uber drivers are ‘workers’ : EFFAT welcomes breaking UK legal decision

31/10/2016

The London Employment Tribunal has ruled that Uber drivers are workers, not 'self-employed', and as workers they have enforceable rights, including a guaranteed minimum wage, paid breaks, and holiday pay. The decision came in response to two test cases brought on behalf of drivers by the British trade union GMB in June.

EFFAT welcomes the ruling of the London Employment Tribunal and congratulates GMB for this trade union success. As EFFAT tourism and hospitality sectors are increasingly facing the sharing economy challenge, the organisation is committed to promoting fair competition and fair and equal treatment for all workers in the sector.

Facing the increasing reality of the platform economy, in fact, unions can take many steps to shape rules and foster better working conditions for those working for these platforms, including: the special treatment of platform work as a new kind of work, likened to agency and part-time work; the introduction of new protection rules for the self-employed to fight informal and undeclared work; the need for a new definition of worker and employer, as the difference between ‘self-employed’ and ‘worker’ is increasingly blurred; the establishment of the platforms’ liability, which can be claimed through existing and new labour law.

As Uber is now considered in business as a supplier of transportation services, trade unions can positively hope that this case will pave the way towards fairer competition, and more social protection for all those working in the platform economy. The recent workers’ unrest in the delivery couriers companies such as Deliveroo, is a clear example showing a very much needed trade union recognition and ‘workers’ status for the eradication of social dumping and exploitation.

 

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.