Uber has agreed to provide its UK drivers and couriers a range of insurance coverage including sickness, injury and maternity and paternity payments.
The company is one of a number of employers who have had “gig economy” employment practices challenged, including Hermes and CitySprint.
The Uber move has been greeted as a victory by the GMB union which has been campaigning on the issue. In a statement, the union pointed out that “in October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks. The Employment Appeal Tribunal then upheld the ruling in November 2017.”
Partner Protection is being offered in partnership with AXA and starts from 1st June. It will cover more than 150,000 independent Uber partners across Europe, including 70,000 drivers and couriers in the UK.
A statement from Uber unveiling the scheme said: “Uber wouldn’t be what it is without drivers and couriers – they are at the heart of the Uber experience. But along the way, we lost sight of that. We focused too much on growth and not enough on the people who made that growth possible. We called drivers ‘partners’, but didn’t always act like it. An important part of being a good partner is being a good listener.”
GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “At long last it seems Uber are starting to listen to GMB members complaints regards the company’s treatment of drivers and denying them their rights.”
However, the Independent Worker Union of Great Britain said the moved didn’t deal with the issue of rights. Branch chair James Farrar said: “Sadly, this is once again a case of tinkering around the edges for a quick PR win, rather than dealing with the issue at hand. If Uber really cares about the workers on which the business relies, it should stop fighting us in court and give the drivers the rights they are entitled to under the law.”