The App Drivers & Couriers Union is a bottom up, grass roots trade union with the largest unionized membership base in the gig economy, organizing thousands of Uber drivers throughout the UK. Our members have been organizing and fighting for worker rights for Uber drivers since 2015 with actions including strikes, protests and legal action including our recent Supreme Court victory over Uber. As such, we believe closer trade union engagement with Uber management is always a welcome development but there is good reason for workers and their unions to be cautious.
At this time ADCU is not prepared to enter into a recognition agreement with Uber. This is because Uber continues to violate basic employment law such as the right to minimum wage for all working time and holiday pay despite the recent UK Supreme Court ruling in our favour.
Recently, Uber applied for declaratory relief from the High Court to confirm that its business model was not in violation of transport regulations despite commentary suggesting the opposite by Lord Leggatt in the Supreme Court ruling. We intend to intervene in this case to defend our members who have sought protection from the Supreme Court.
We are disturbed by Uber’s divisive and anti-union behaviour in the United States, most recently in California and New York State, where Uber has used the appearance of blunt collective bargaining agreements to actually weaken the power of workers rather than the opposite. Naturally, we have concerns about Uber’s motivations on this side of the Atlantic not only in the UK but throughout Europe also.
We are also concerned about Uber’s suggestion of preferential treatment of driver dismissal appeals. We believe that any such arrangement would be unlawful. We will continue to defend our members and hold Uber to account for all unfair dismissals and any adverse licensing action arising as a result.
Overall, this is a step in the right direction, but there are significant obstacles in the way of ADCU reaching a similar agreement. For us, compliance with legal minimums should be the point of departure for any union agreement with Uber.
James Farrar, General Secretary, App Drivers & Couriers Union
Yaseen Aslam, President, App Drivers & Couriers Union