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Uber loses legal battle over whether its drivers are permanent employees

Uber drivers in the Netherlands are entitled to the same social benefits as taxi drivers, a court has ruled.

The Amsterdam judges said that the drivers working for the ridesharing app fell under the collective labor agreement of Dutch taxi drivers.

The court argued that the legal relationship between Uber and its drivers “conforms to all the characteristics of an employment contract”, and that they must therefore be employed on a permanent basis.

The Dutch workers’ organization that carried the case called the decision a major victory for Uber drivers.

“This verdict shows what we have been saying for years,” Zakaria Boufangacha, vice-president of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), said in a statement.

“Uber is an employer and the drivers are employees, so Uber must abide by the collective labor agreement for taxis.”

FNV said the decision means Uber drivers are entitled to higher pay and have more rights if they are sick or are made redundant.

The court ordered Uber to pay € 50,000 in damages to the federation for non-compliance with the collective labor agreement.

But Uber said the decision was a blow to the concert economy model and that it would likely appeal the verdict.

“We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers want to remain independent,” said Maurits Schönfeld, Uber general manager for Northern Europe.

“[The drivers] do not want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work, ”added Schönfeld.

“In the interests of the drivers, we will therefore appeal the court ruling, while continuing to improve the work on the platforms in the Netherlands.”

A spokesperson for Uber also said nothing would change for drivers using the app as the company appeals the decision. The company has around 4,000 drivers in the Dutch capital.

The Dutch court ruling follows a similar UK Supreme Court ruling in February that said, Uber drivers are “workers”, not self-employed.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Uber now operates as the sole middleman following several legal disputes. German Uber journeys are made by car rental companies, where the drivers are mostly employed on a permanent basis.


euronews Gt