|Uber loses court fight in Netherlands over drivers' rights |
A court in the Netherlands has ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not contractors, and are thus entitled to greater workers' rights under local labour laws. The Amsterdam District Court sided with the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions (FNV), which had argued that the ride-hailing company's roughly 4,000 drivers in the Dutch capital should enjoy benefits in line with the taxi sector. The court’s decision comes months after a similar UK court ruling led to the San Francisco-headquartered firm agreeing a groundbreaking union deal in Britain. "The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract," and drivers are covered by a collective labour agreement for taxi drivers, the court said, adding "This means that Uber is obligated to institute a labour contract with drivers . . . and therefore means these drivers are entitled to backpay in certain circumstances." The judges also ordered Uber to pay €50,000 ($59,000) in damages to the FNV for not adhering to a collective labour agreement. Uber said it would appeal the ruling. "We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent," Maurits Schoenfeld, Uber’s Northern Europe general manager, said, adding "Drivers don’t want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work." The FNV welcomed the ruling. "Due to the judge's ruling, the Uber drivers are now automatically employed by Uber," said Zakaria Boufangacha, FNV's deputy chairman. "As a result, they will receive more wages and more rights in the event of dismissal or illness, for example."