Uber still "short-changing" drivers despite minimum wage u-turn

The App Drivers and Couriers Union say the firm isn't fully compying with the legal minimums

An uber driver seen from the backseat

Uber has been accused of "short-changing" UK drivers by only committing to paying the minimum wage while they have a passenger. 

The ride-hailing firm said on Wednesday that it would treat UK drivers as workers and pay them minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay.

However, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, the two former drivers that brought the legal action against the firm, said the firm still isn't doing enough.

In a statement released by the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU), the two said Uber had "arrived to the table with this offer a day late and a dollar short, literally". 

Uber's announcement, it should be said, only came after a prolonged court battle that ended with the Supreme Court ruling its drivers were to be recognised as workers and entitled to the minimum wage.

On Wednesday, the firm said it would commit to "at least" the minimum wage, but only after a driver had accepted a trip request and also after expenses. The firm called this a "floor not a ceiling", suggesting that its UK drivers can make more money this way.

Farrar and Aslam claim, on the other hand, that this means the drivers will be "short-changed to the turn of 40-50%". 

"While Uber undoubtedly has made progress here, we cannot accept anything less than full compliance with legal minimums," the pair said in a statement. "We would also expect to see Uber make progress towards trade union recognition, a fair dismissals appeals process and a data access agreement."

Uber has also agreed to fortnightly paid holiday time, based on 12.07% of a driver's earnings, a pension plan, sick pay and the freedom to choose "if, when and where they drive". 

"This is an important day for drivers in the UK," Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber said. "Uber drivers will receive an earnings guarantee, holiday pay and a pension, and will retain the flexibility they currently value. 

It is thought that Uber's u-turn could lead to changes within the gig economy where millions of people tend to work for one or more companies on a job-by-job basis. 

"Uber is just one part of a larger private-hire industry, so we hope that all other operators will join us in improving the quality of work for these important workers who are an essential part of our everyday lives," Heywood added. 

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