The pact gives union members access to driver centres for assistance and support, but it excludes Uber Eats users. In the UK, Uber and GMB’s union for its private hire drivers, marking the first time a union and a gig economy ride-hailing service have collaborated.
It is great to see trade union membership increase for the third consecutive year.
GMB's recognition agreement with Uber and Unite bus drivers defeating fire and rehire tactics are just two of many recent examples that show the value of being in a trade union. #JoinAUnion
— Andy McDonald MP (@AndyMcDonaldMP) May 27, 2021
The uber and GMB’s union will have access to drivers’ meeting hubs as part of the recognition agreement and will be able to assist and support them. It will also be allowed to represent drivers in the event that they lose access to the Uber app, and it will meet with management on a quarterly basis to discuss driver issues and concerns.
According to the agreement, drivers are very observant
Drivers will not be automatically enrolled as members but will be allowed to opt up to participate in collective bargaining. After a landmark supreme courtjudgement in March, Uber agreed to guarantee its 70,000 UK drivers a minimum hourly salary, holiday pay, and pensions and signed the agreement two months later.
The union recognition agreement, like the compensation arrangement, does not apply to Uber Eats food delivery passengers, who use around 30,000 couriers. The GMB is likely to raise the fact that Uber’s new pay plan disregards a Supreme Court judgement that drivers’ working hours should be measured from the time they log on to work until they log off.
The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), whose founding members were lead claimants in the employment tribunal that led to the supreme court decision, called trade union cooperation with Uber a “positive step.”
Despite a recent UK supreme courtjudgement in our favour, the ADCU indicated it would not sign a recognition agreement with Uber since the company continues to violate basic employment regulations, such as the right to minimum pay and paid vacation for all working time.
Uber, like many other delivery and courier companies, contended that its drivers were self-employed “partners” who were not entitled to basic worker rights such as a legally enforceable minimum wage and a working pension.
Do unions have to agree to agreements?
Uber’s appeal against a 2016 employment tribunal judgment that its drivers should be classified as workers was dismissed by the UK supreme court in February. The GMB backed that legal argument.
“This ground-breaking arrangement between GMB and Uber could be the first step toward a fairer working life for millions of people,” said Mick Rix, GMB national officer. There has been a historical event. This deal demonstrates that gig economy businesses do not have to be a wild west on the uncharted territory of labour rights.
Everyone gains when tech private hire firms and unions collaborate in a way, bringing dignified, secure employment back to the workplace. All other operators are now encouraged to follow suit.
While Uber and GMB may not appear to be natural allies, we’ve always agreed that drivers come first, and now we’ve signed this critical arrangement to increase workers’ protections, said Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Uber in Northern and Eastern Europe.
Uber is the only major participant in the market to promise a national living wage, holiday pay, and a pension for its drivers, and this groundbreaking deal means Uber will be the first in the sector to assure that its drivers have full union representation.
The Uber agreement is a step forward from GMB’s first gig economy recognition agreement with Hermes, which was inked in 2019 and provided drivers with guaranteed minimum salaries and holiday pay.
Hermes’ drivers remained self-employed under that agreement, but they could opt into contracts with improved benefits.