Offering drivers minimum wage for whole time logged on means set shifts and fewer drivers warns Uber
Offering minimum wage for the whole time Uber drivers are logged onto the platform would mean ‘set shifts’ and a ‘drastic cut to the number of drivers’ says Uber’s Regional General Manager.
In a interview with TaxiPoint, Uber’s Jamie Heywood also insisted that recent workers’ rights changes were based on feedback from drivers on the Uber platform wishing to maintain flexibility.
Last month, ride-hailing firm Uber introduced new workers’ rights to over 70,000 private hire drivers. Thousands of drivers in the UK are now treated as workers, earning at least the National Living Wage when driving with Uber.
Private hire drivers working on the platform are now also paid for holiday time and can be automatically enrolled into a pension plan if they are eligible.
The news follows a landmark Supreme Court ruling last month which handed victory to Uber drivers in their battle for worker rights.
Uber says the package offered to drivers is based around a consultation they conducted, which found drivers wanted additional benefits but without any loss of flexibility.
The news of Uber’s workers’ benefits was welcomed by the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) as ‘progress’, but they did raise questions as to why drivers were only offered pay and benefits for the time they had an accepted job.
As part of a joint statement after news of the Supreme Court ruling on 16 March, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam of ADCU, said: “The Supreme Court ruled that drivers are to be recognized as workers with entitlements to the minimum wage and holiday pay to accrue on working time from log on to log off whereas Uber is committing only to these entitlements to accrue from time of trip acceptance to drop off. This means that Uber drivers will be still short-changed to the tune of 40-50%. Also, it is not acceptable for Uber to unilaterally decide the driver expense base in calculating minimum wage. This must be subject to collective agreement.”
As part of an exclusive interview, TaxiPoint asked Uber’s Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe: “Why have drivers on the Uber platform only been offered workers’ benefits for the time they have an active job, rather than the time they are logged in looking for work on Uber as well?”
Jamie Heywood, said: “If drivers were entitled to the minimum wage for all the time they simply had the app open, this would mean set shifts and a drastic cut to the number of drivers who can earn with Uber, at a time when the UK needs more earnings opportunities not less.
“Drivers have told us this is not what they want and the changes announced recently are the only way to ensure these new rights come with flexibility. This is consistent with the Supreme Court ruling which assessed Uber’s business in 2016 and based its decision on key features which have subsequently been removed.”