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UK: Uber recognises union for first time in landmark deal

"Uber recognises union for first time in landmark deal", 27 May 2021

Ride-hailing giant Uber has agreed to recognise a trade union for the first time, in a landmark deal that should benefit gig economy workers. The GMB union will have the power to represent UK drivers in discussions over earnings, pensions, benefits and their health and wellbeing. Mick Rix, national officer at GMB, said it could be "the first step to a fairer working life for millions of people".

Uber said the move showed its commitment to its 70,000 UK drivers. "While Uber and GMB may not seem like obvious allies, we've always agreed that drivers must come first, and today we have struck this important deal to improve workers' protections," said Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe.

For years Uber resisted calls to recognise unions, which had criticised the firm for not granting drivers basic rights such as sick pay or a minimum wage... But in March it changed its stance after the Supreme Court ruled that its drivers should be classified as workers - a category entitling them to better pay and conditions... [B]y recognising GMB, the ride-hailing giant has gone a step further, giving a union the right to negotiate on behalf of drivers for the first time.

... GMB called on other operators to follow suit... TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the agreement would give Uber drivers "a real voice at work".

But the organisation that brought the Supreme Court employment case against Uber, the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), said there was "good reason for workers and their unions to be cautious". It said Uber was still not providing a minimum wage for all working time and holiday pay in the UK, "despite the recent UK Supreme Court ruling in our favour".

"At this time ADCU is not prepared to enter into a recognition agreement with Uber," it added.