Three weeks after I turned CEO of Uber in 2017, our license to function in London was revoked. It wasn’t how I anticipated to start out my new job, however it confirmed me all of the work we had forward of us to grow to be a greater associate with the cities we serve. On the time, I informed Londoners that we have been going to vary the way in which we function.
Nearly 4 years later, I am glad to say that we have our license again and essentially modified the way in which we run and develop our enterprise. Whereas there may be nonetheless an extended solution to go, I am happy with every thing we have achieved – from strengthening passenger security, getting extra electrical autos on the street, or relocating important employees in the course of the pandemic. .
Whereas we’ve got made progress, one vital situation stays unresolved: the standing of over 70,000 Uber drivers within the UK and the way they’re acknowledged. Our pondering on this situation has advanced over time, and I will be the primary to confess that we have struggled to determine options that work for Uber and for individuals who earn on our platform.
Following the UK Supreme Courtroom ruling final month, we might have continued to problem drivers’ rights to any of those protections in courtroom. As a substitute, we determined to show the web page. From at the moment Uber drivers within the UK can be handled like employees.
A employee is a novel classification below UK labor legislation. Employees will not be workers however are entitled to sure social protections. Our determination means Uber drivers will obtain a trip pay and be assured at the least the nationwide residing wage (within the type of a ground, not a ceiling, that means they’ll have the ability to earn extra, as they do at the moment). . And qualifying drivers who desire a pension will obtain one.
It is a important enchancment within the degree of labor for UK drivers. However I do know many observers will not congratulate us on taking this step, which comes after a five-year authorized battle. They’re proper, though I hope the trail we’ve got chosen reveals our willingness to vary.
Some might ask: why and why now?
First, we’ve got come to acknowledge that platforms like ours will work otherwise in several international locations. What is smart for the UK might not make sense for Poland, Paraguay or Pennsylvania. It’s the nature of enterprise to need consistency. The way forward for work is simply too huge an issue for a one-size-fits-all answer, and that is okay.
Now we have additionally come to consider that the established order of self-employment is simply not sufficient. An rising variety of folks select any such work due to the
flexibility it affords – the flexibility to decide on if, when and the best way to work. This degree of freedom just isn’t out there with conventional employment.
It’s more and more clear to us that flexibility alone is inadequate and that it should not come on the expense of social protections. But at the moment in most international locations of the world outdated labor legal guidelines basically dictate this compromise. We all know there’s a higher means and we intend to make use of our management place to advocate for reform.
For instance, we’ve got referred to as for updates to authorized frameworks, each within the US and within the EU, that might assure advantages and safety for the self-employed with out eradicating the flexibleness that makes any such work so engaging to them by first place.
After all, UK employee standing appears to suit this framework. Till lately, it was not clear whether or not such a mannequin can be suitable with the open methods of platforms like Uber, which permit drivers to start out and cease work at their discretion, with out predetermined shifts.
The Supreme Courtroom ruling offers a clearer means ahead, in order that we are able to construct a mannequin that provides drivers the protections of employee standing whereas letting them work flexibly, similar to they do. have been since Uber arrived within the UK in 2012.
That is mainly what drivers need. Following final month’s verdict, we requested UK drivers what modifications they want to see from us. Two-thirds informed us they worth flexibility – and solely 20% needed extra protection if it meant a lack of flexibility. Now we are able to make it possible for drivers can get versatile work when they need it, and safety and advantages once they want it.
We make the selection to do it, however after all we’re not the one participant on the town. Many drivers work with a number of non-public rental operators on the similar time. It is not sensible that they need to have the protections of employee standing on one journey, however lose them on the subsequent. I hope that our rivals, engaged in their very own authorized battles, will rethink their method and be part of us in taking this step.
The Covid pandemic has compelled us all to rethink issues that we beforehand believed to be true. The post-pandemic financial system can be totally different from earlier than. I firmly consider that apps like Uber will assist gas the collective restoration. Whereas we’re at it, we have to work collectively to enhance the established order of self-employment world wide.