Uber says it is formally recognizing a major British trade union
LONDON – Uber said on Wednesday that it was formally recognizing a major British trade union to represent drivers, one for labor campaigners seeking better working conditions than the ride-hailing stalwart Success.
The San Francisco-based company said it signed a collective bargaining agreement with GMB Trade Union, one of the UK’s largest trade unions.
“History has been made,” GMB national official Mick Ricks said in a statement released by Uber. “This agreement shows that gig economy companies are not required to be the wild west on the indomitable limits of employment rights.”
Uber and other app-based gig economy companies across Europe are facing pressure to improve labor models that are often blamed for uncertain jobs and low pay.
Britain’s top court ruled earlier this year that the company’s drivers should be classified as workers, not self-employed after the deal was struck. This gave them benefits such as minimum salary, pension and holiday pay, which the company has started providing.
GMB is over 100 years old and represents 620,000 UK employees. Another group that led the legal challenge, the App Drivers and Courier Union, carefully congratulated the announcement.
“Overall, this is a step in the right direction, but there are significant hurdles in the way of reaching an agreement similar to the ADCU,” Uber said, including disagreements over how the minimum wage and leave pay are calculated.
The ADCU said it also had concerns about Uber’s motivations, adding that it was concerned that the company sought to use “the presence of blunt collective bargaining agreements” to strengthen workers rather than weaken them. Has been