Taxi service Uber will now class its 70,000 drivers in Britain as workers with rights to the minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions.
The corporate giant said drivers would earn at least the National Living Wage of £8.72 an hour.
But unions say bosses’ guarantees still fall short of a Supreme Court ruling over drivers’ employment status last month.
The court found that Uber drivers are workers, not self-employed, because they face “subordination and dependency” to the company. And bosses were forced to reclassify their drivers as workers from Wednesday after workers threatened to sue.
A statement from James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam of the ADCU union said, “The Supreme Court ruled that drivers are recognised as workers with entitlements to the minimum wage and holiday pay to accrue on working time from log-on to log off.
“Whereas Uber is committing only to these entitlements to accrue from time of trip to acceptance to drop off.
“While Uber undoubtedly has made progress here, we cannot accept anything less with full compliance with legal minimums.
“We should see Uber make progress toward trade union recognition, a fair dismissals appeals process and data access agreement.”
Nader Awaad, vice chair of the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of the IWGB union, said, “Uber has finally conceded that drivers are entitled to worker rights. Make no mistake Uber has been forced into this decision by pressure from drivers.
“Following the Supreme Court victory, hundreds upon hundreds of drivers responded to Uber’s recent consultation on worker rights by calling on Uber to pay up and speak to our union.”
While this is an important step in winning additional rights for workers, the fight for better conditions at Uber continues.
Uber has made an assurance that workers will now be paid the statutory minimum wage. But they will only be paid this minimum wage for the time when a passenger is sitting in their vehicle, not for any waiting times.
The UHPD said it “stills falls short” of the ruling “which clearly stated claimants were entitled to a guaranteed minimum wage from the moment they log into the app”.
While bosses have promised a £8.72 an hour after vehicle running costs, they haven’t said how those costs would be calculated.
And compensation for backdates pay and holiday is still outstanding, with an ongoing legal case against the company.
Nader demanded Uber “guarantee a minimum wage for the entire time we are logged into the app, as the Supreme Court ruled”. And he says it needs to “pay immediate compensation for backdated wages, holiday pay and pensions”.
The change also does not extend to the tens of thousands of food delivery drivers for Uber Eats.
The UPHD is continuing to make demands on Uber. They include a national minimum wage guarantee, backdated minimum wage, holiday pay and pension contributions for all drivers who have been denied these terms in the past.
Workers are also demanding trade union recognition.
The recognition of Uber drivers as workers is a victory for all those trapped in bogus self-employment. But it also shows the lengths that bosses will go to in order to squeeze as much profit out of workers as they can.
It has taken workers campaigning and multiple court cases to get Uber to concede to even the smallest demands and the fight is far from over.
But workers are determined to fight for more—and action can win better pay and terms and conditions.