Dutch civil court says Uber drivers are entitled to employee benefits

Sept. 13 (UPI) — Uber drivers in the Netherlands should be considered employees and are legally entitled to the same benefits as taxi drivers, a civil court in Amsterdam said in a ruling on Monday.

The court said in its decision that drivers for the ride-sharing company fall under the Dutch taxi collective labor agreement, meaning they’re employees and not independent contractors.

The ruling is a major victory for the FNV trade union, which brought the complaint on behalf of some drivers who argued that Uber was underpaying them.

“Real self-employed workers can determine their own rates and determine how they carry out their work,” FNV spokesman Zakaria Boufangacha said, according to Dutch News. “This is not the case with drivers who drive for Uber.

“Uber determines the hourly rate, who can or cannot access the app, who gets which ride and how the rides are carried out.”

Uber has argued that it’s merely a technology company that connects drivers and passengers through its app.

Maurits Schonfeld, general manager of Uber in Northern Europe, said Monday’s decision goes against the opinions of about 4,000 drivers in the Netherlands.

“We know that the vast majority of drivers would like to remain independent,” Schonfeld said, according to NL Times.

The court’s ruling says drivers, however, are only independent “on paper” — and that Uber controls the app, limits who drivers can refuse rides from and decides unilaterally solutions to customer complaints.

Uber said it will appeal the decision.