Uber Surprise Announcement: Will Pay Workers Minimum Wage, Vacation, and Pension (UK)

Put one in the W column for gig workers everywhere

Not long ago Uber was making its case that UK laws shouldn’t apply to its drivers. That was last month. Today they’ve changed their tune.

Effective tomorrow Uber will no longer classify its UK drivers as independent contractors, but instead “workers” who will enjoy company-sponsored pension, vacation pay, and minimum wage.

This is a HUGE win for Uber drivers everywhere as it sets a precedent that’s been missing for the booming gig-economy.

The caveat of Uber’s new policy is that the driver “clocks in” on the minimum wage when he/she accepts a ride, and “clocks out” when that ride has ended. I’m sure this will cause further back and forth between Uber management and its workers as well as the labor activists.

Drivers should earn minimum wage from logon to logoff, not just when holding passengers.

JAMES FARRAR (UBER DRIVER WHO TOOK ON UBER)

The argument from the labor activists and Uber workers is that in times when very few trips are being hailed (read: the pandemic) there is almost no money to be made. While I get that, it’s supply and demand. The entire economy has been absolutely pummeled by COVID, so this is not a gig-only issue.

This seems like a completely fair compromise to me.

A spokesperson for Uber said that they made the decision after consulting with their drivers, and of course to avoid litigation.

I think that the ride-hailing giant saw the inevitable coming and decided to get out ahead of it. Smart. By doing so their competitors will have to follow, but they come out looking like the good guys. At least I think that’s their play.

Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives.

JAMIE HEYWOOD, UBER REGIONAL MANAGER – NORTHERN/EASTERN EUROPE

For now, put one in the W column for gig-workers everywhere.