New Zealand unions take on Uber

E tū and First Union today filed a claim in the Employment Court seeking employment rights for Uber drivers.

The claim asks the court to declare that Uber drivers are employees and are entitled to the same minimum wage rates and leave entitlements as other New Zealand workers.

Uber has traditionally argued that their 7000 drivers are not employees or contractors but are simply paying to use the Uber app in order to connect them to passengers.

Uber have also stated that they are not in the business of passenger transport, but simply providing a platform for independent business operators to connect with customers.

E tū spokesperson Yvette Taylor said that this case follows similar cases in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and parts of the USA, which had ruled in favour of the drivers.

“The Uber system is designed to get around New Zealand employment laws and deprive the drivers of their minimum legal entitlements,” Yvette says.

“Gig workers, such as those employed by Uber, are at the forefront of a new form of exploitation where management is replaced by an algorithm built into an app, with its ability to deactivate workers without reason and take away their income.”