Uber drivers are employees entitled to greater workers’ rights under local labor laws, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, September 13, handing a setback to the US company’s European business model, reported Reuters.
It was another court victory for unions fighting for better pay and benefits for those employed in the gig economy and followed a similar decision this year about Uber in Britain.
The Amsterdam District Court sided with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions, which had argued that Uber’s roughly 4,000 drivers in the capital are in fact employees of a taxi company and should be granted benefits in line with the taxi sector.
Uber stated it would appeal against the decision and “has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands.”
“We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent,” said Maurits Schönfeld, Uber’s general manager for northern Europe. “Drivers don’t want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work.”
The court found drivers who transport passengers via the Uber app are covered by the collective labor agreement for taxi transportation.
“The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract,” the ruling stated.
Uber has faced several cases in Europe around the status of drivers on its network. Most notably, earlier this year, drivers in the UK were deemed “workers” rather than contractors. This means that drivers are entitled to a minimum wage and benefits such as holiday pay and pension contributions.
Since then, Uber has been on the offensive in the UK, arguing that the requirements of that ruling should be applied to its rivals in the UK market as well. If enacted, that would mean rivals like Bolt would be required to move their drivers to worker status as well.