More than 70,000 Uber drivers in Britain will now receive minimum wage. If the transposition of this decision is not possible in Belgium, our country already has an opinion recognizing these drivers as an employee.
In Belgium, the presence of‘Uber – currently limited to Brussels territory – does not make people happy either. In the matter of taximen, one evokes an unfair competition. In the head of Uber drivers, we denounce the working conditions and rules.
Could the British decision snowball in Belgium? Could Uber drivers receive a minimum wage and certain employee rights?
Within Uber, we explain that british law has a classification of “workers” giving the right to the national minimum wage, paid holidays and a retirement pension. This status does not exist in Belgium, where we are either self-employed or salaried. The government in its political declaration says it wants to improve the situation of platform workers, recalls Jean-François Neven, lecturer at ULB and lawyer. However, the creation of a 3rd status is not on the table.
“The worker status therefore does not apply to partner drivers in Belgium.”
“The worker status therefore does not apply to partner drivers in Belgium”, explains Catherine Depoorter, spokesperson for the group.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, for his part, concedes that he is ready to make efforts in Europe. “But this must be done within suitable legal frameworks which guarantee minimum standards for self-employed workers without compromising the flexibility which makes this type of work so attractive to them.”
Because if this British decision cannot be transposed as it is in Belgium, it is clear that such decisions are popping up all over Europe as to the status of workers on this type of platform. Belgium is no exception to the rule.
This body, emanating from the FPS Social Security and made up of an adviser to the Labor Court and representatives of the ONSS, Inasti, the FPS Social Security and the FPS Employment, had been contacted by an Uber driver wishing to be considered as an employee and not as a self-employed person.
The commission concluded that the working arrangements of Uber drivers were indeed incompatible with an independent employment relationship. She had argued by noting the lack of freedom for the driver to organize his working time, to choose his routes, to organize his working conditions. In addition, Uber exercises hierarchical control by allowing itself the possibility of sanctioning the driver, in particular in the event of a poorer assessment.
“We therefore already have in Belgium an organization which considers that Uber drivers are employees, as it had done two years ago for the workers of Deliveroo”, adds Antoine Chomé. Admittedly, this opinion is not a court decision and relates only to the complainant. Nevertheless, it could set a precedent.
Note that Uber is contesting this opinion before the Brussels Labor Court, as Deliveroo did in its time.
Fast and flexible
At the level of the General Labor Auditor, no case is currently open against Uber. Nonetheless, the auditor’s office initiated proceedings against Deliveroo. It is not without difficulties, explains the deputy general of the auditorat Nadine Meunier.
“The big problem with these platforms is that they are very fast and mobile. Each argument put forward by the auditor is directly adapted in the contracts. So that if we obtain a favorable judgment, it may not concern than X deliverers for a time T and a contract Y. “