UK Uber Concessions Aren't Enough: Drivers

Company agrees to minimum wage, pension
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2021 5:45 PM CDT
Uber Drivers in UK Win Minimum Wage, Pension
Former Uber drivers Yaseen Aslam, left, and James Farrar pause outside the Royal Courts of Justice ahead of a legal hearing over employment rights in London in 2018.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

Uber is granting its UK drivers the minimum wage, pensions, and holiday pay, following a recent court ruling that said they should be classified as workers and entitled to such benefits. The ride hailing giant's announcement cames after it lost an appeal last month at the UK Supreme Court capping a yearslong court battle, the AP reports. The court's decision holds wider implications for the country's gig economy. Uber said it's extending the benefits immediately to its more than 70,000 drivers in the UK. Drivers will earn at least the minimum wage, which currently stands at 8.72 pounds ($12.12 US), after accepting a trip request and expenses, and will still be able to earn more. Drivers will also get holiday pay equal to about 12% of their earnings, paid every two weeks. And they'll be enrolled in a pension plan that both they and the company will pay into.

“This is an important day for drivers in the UK," said Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, in a filing to the SEC. He noted that drivers will still be able to work on a flexible basis. "Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives." The drivers who filed the case welcomed the news but said it's not enough. Uber has "arrived to the table with this offer a day late and a dollar short, literally," James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam of the App Drivers and Couriers Union said. They said the changes stopped short of the Supreme Court's ruling that pay should be calculated from when drivers log on to the app until they log off. And they said the company can't decide by itself the expense base for calculating the minimum wage, which should be based on a collective agreement.

(More Uber stories.)

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