Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A victory for worker's rights

The Employment Court has ruled that four Uber drivers are employees rather than "independent contractors":

Uber drivers in New Zealand have won an employment case ruling they were employees of the global ridesharing provider and not contractors.


As employees, the four drivers were entitled to the rights and protections under New Zealand employment law, including the minimum wage, guaranteed hours, holiday pay, sick leave, KiwiSaver contributions, the right to challenge an unfair dismissal, and the right to unionise and collectively bargain.

The judgment found that although the ruling attaches only to the individual drivers, "... it may well have broader impact, particularly where, as here, there is apparent uniformity in the way in which the companies operate, and the framework under which drivers are engaged”.

Which is obviously very good news for those drivers, and very, very bad news for Uber - and for similar "gig economy" companies. Their entire business model depends on ignoring the law for competitive advantage, undercutting companies which obey it. Now they can't do that anymore. Which should limit the pressure for casualisation and erosion of worker's rights.