The concept of Uber has been causing many discussions, although there are still a lot of drawbacks to this business model. Up until this point, drivers were not protected by any means, and they had few if any “worker rights.” But over in the United Kingdom that situation will change soon, as a tribunal feels all Uber drivers deserve workers’ rights.
What Will Be Uber’s Next Move?
Being able to work when you want and where you want is quite an exhilarating feeling. It is also part of the reason why Uber has become such a global success, as the company can employ anyone with a car without an official worker’s contract. This is convenient for the company, but for the driver things work out very differently. Working as an Uber driver does not qualify as a bonus towards a pension plan by any means.
If the UK employment tribunal has a say in the matter, drivers will not have to worry about these issues much longer. Right now every Uber driver is falling into the same category as self-employed people with no protection unless they take matters into their own hands. But that “decision” does not sit right with the tribunal, as they ruled that every driver should have the same rights as regular workers.
Such a monumental verdict may shake up the way we look at companies which are active in the sharing economy. While this particular case revolves around Uber, the same ruling could apply to Lyft, Airbnb, and any other similar companies. It is doubtful that they will let this decision slide without a fight. In fact, Uber is planning to appeal this decision already and has set things in motion.
Do not be mistaken in thinking that the company does not see the positive side of this outcome, though. Having the same rights as regular workers is a very positive thing for all members of the sharing economy. The company, however, will now be forced to pay drivers a minimum wage, which is much harder to enforce through their current business model.
This news comes at a time during which Uber is facing a lot of legal scrutiny in various countries around the world. Mainly the US is becoming a highly contested zone where Uber is concerned, as unions want to have all drivers recognized as official employees of the company. Now that such a verdict exists in the UK, it will be interesting to see how the situation evolves in other countries.
It seems likely that Uber will have to either change their entire business model or come up with a solution that works for everyone involved. There is a certain trade-off between living a flexible lifestyle and turning Uber-driving into a full-time job. That latter option was never the plan for anyone who is part of this ecosystem, although it hasn’t deterred some drivers from trying it anyway.
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