An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Uber drivers are employees, not contractors, and so entitled to greater workers’ rights under local labor laws, a Dutch court ruled on Monday, handing a setback to the U.S. company’s European business model. 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 (FNV), which had argued that Uber’s roughly 4,000 drivers in the capital are employees of a taxi company and should be granted benefits in line with the taxi sector.
The court found drivers who transport passengers via the Uber app are covered by the collective labour agreement for taxi transportation. “The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract,” the ruling said. Uber drivers are in some cases entitled to back pay, the court said. The judges also ordered Uber to pay a fine of 50,000 euros ($58,940) for failing to implement the terms of the labor agreement for taxi drivers.
Uber said it would appeal against the decision and “has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands.” They added: “We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the overwhelming majority of drivers wish to remain independent. Drivers don’t want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where to work.”
Last November, Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies scored a decisive win in California when a majority of the state’s voters passed a company-sponsored ballot measure that cemented workers’ status as contractors, albeit with some benefits.
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