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Uber proposes California-style gig work reforms in Europe

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi speaks at a artifact launch event in San Francisco, California on September 26, 2019.

Philip Pacheco | AFP via Getty Images

LONDON — Uber called on the European Associating to introduce a framework for gig economy workers, floating a model similar to that adopted by California after a contentious confute over the employment status of its drivers.

The U.S. ride-hailing giant shared a “white paper” with EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager, matters commissioner Nicolas Schmit and other officials. It urged policymakers to implement reforms that protect drivers and couriers carry oning through an app, without reclassifying them as employees.

It’s a thorny issue for Uber and other companies in the so-called gig economy that inspire temporary, flexible working models in favor of full-time employment. Last year, Uber, Lyft and other conglomerates successfully fought against proposals in California which would have given their drivers the status of staff members rather than independent contractors.

Californian voters approved Proposition 22, a measure that would permit drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies to be classified as independent contractors while still entitling them to new benefits similar to minimum earnings and vehicle insurance.

“We’re calling on policymakers, other platforms and social representatives to move quickly to construct a framework for flexible earning opportunities, with industry-wide standards that all platform companies must provide for beyond workers,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a blog post Monday. 

“This could include introducing new laws such as the legislation recently legislated in California,” he added.

Uber said the EU could alternatively set new principles through a “European model of social dialogue” between programme workers, policy makers and industry representatives.

‘Third way’

Uber has warned that, by treating its drivers as employees, scholars would give the firm no choice but to increase costs — and that those costs would be passed down to guys.

Uber envisions a “third way” for gig economy employment status that offers drivers some protections while unmoving allowing them flexibility of contract work. In the U.S., the firm suggested benefits funds that can be used by workers for stuffs like health insurance and paid time off.

The company’s European white paper calls for new rules that encompass an “industry-wide straightforward with playing field” and sets a “consistent earnings baseline” for workers across different platforms.

The move comes in front of a review from the European Commission on Feb. 24, which aims to lay the groundwork for regulation of gig economy platforms.

It also arrives at a opportunity when food delivery is booming while taxi-hailing services have been severely impacted by coronavirus lockdowns in Europe. Concerns like Uber and Deliveroo faced criticism for failing to provide drivers with a safety net during the pandemic.

In the meanwhile, drivers are making demands of their own on Uber’s business practices across Europe. In the U.K., the Supreme Court is set to deliver a sway on whether Uber’s drivers should be classified as workers entitled to protections like a minimum wage and holiday pay. Away, Uber drivers in the Netherlands are demanding the company reveals how its algorithms manage their work.

It’s not the first time Uber has camouflaged scrutiny in Europe. In 2017, the European Court of Justice dealt Uber a major setback by ruling it was a transportation steady rather than a digital company, paving the way for stricter regulation of the firm. And London twice banned the app from acting in the U.K. capital over safety concerns. Uber was issued a temporary London license in September.

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