In a landmark shift, Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) agreed to recognize the GMB union. Following this move, GMB could negotiate with the management for workers’ rights like wellbeing and health, benefits, pensions, and earnings.
GMB’s national officer, Mick Rix, said it is the first step for millions of workers to lead fair life.
Around 70,000 drivers would benefit from new incentives. Regional General Manager (Eastern and Northern Europe), Jamie Heywood, said GMB and Uber would not feel like allies. He further said the company always prioritizes drivers. The deal improves drivers’ protections.
Uber faced severe criticism in the past for resisting recognizing trade unions. The ridesharing company so far denied granting fundamental rights like minimum wages or sick pay to drivers.
Uber so far treated its drivers as freelancers and does not offer any benefits. However, it changed its stand after the Supreme Court ruling to classify its drivers as workers.
The Supreme Court ruling allows drivers to qualify for better working conditions and pay. Now, Uber will provide pension, holiday pay, and wage guarantee to its workers.
UMB got a right to negotiate on behalf of its union members with Uber for various benefits for the first time. Both Uber and UMB will discuss workers’ issues and benefits every quarter.
Drivers need to sign up for a membership to become a member of the union. GMB said other operators like Lyft to follow soon the path of Uber to recognize the unions and improve drivers’ rights.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary at TUC, said the deal offers the right voice at work.
The union said Uber is still not providing holiday pay and minimum wages for the workers despite a Supreme Court Verdict. Therefore, ADCU is not looking to enter a deal with Uber for recognition.
Uber only recognized the union in the UK. Several drivers in other markets are challenging the company where whether they are to be classified as self-employed or workers.
Offers free rides for vaccination
In a communication to the White House, Uber said it would offer a free ride for people to get vaccinated.
The company will offer free rides for four trips (up to $25) from June 2 to July 2021 to meet the White House goal of vaccinating 70% of the population in the US.