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Uber suffers legal setback over the status of its drivers in the Netherlands


A man holds a smartphone showing the Uber app in London, March 17, 2021 (TOLGA AKMEN / AFP)

A Dutch court has just ruled that Uber drivers working in the Netherlands were indeed under contract and could not be considered as self-employed workers, the mode of operation in force until now. The case had been brought to justice by a Dutch union which won the case. The judges considered that the legal relationship between the company Uber and its drivers met all the characteristics of an employment contract. The drivers will be covered by the collective agreement for taxis: it could not be clearer.

Uber will be forced to institute a formal employment contract and drivers will be entitled to wage arrears in certain circumstances. The American group does not hear it that way. He insists that it is simply providing a technical platform to connect drivers and customers. Uber will appeal the Dutch court ruling.

This last judgment, which fell on Monday, September 13, comes a few months after an identical decision from an English court. Justice across the Channel had forced Uber to recognize its British drivers as a salaried worker. This means a minimum wage, social security, etc.

In France as elsewhere, the group has so far succeeded in resisting this major change which could affect its profitability. This would amount to a total overhaul of the original business model for Uber. The company is, however, considering a hybrid status for its drivers: half employees, half independent. But the breaches opened by the judges in the United Kingdom and then in the Netherlands reinforce the demands of the driver unions around the world and could well spread oil to other VTC operators.

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