Uber drivers often work very long hours just to earn enough to cover their basic living costs. The work carried out by the drivers has allowed Uber to become the multi-billion dollar global corporation it is. Due to Uber’s success, drivers are now pursuing to be treated as regular employees; that includes receiving benefits. Uber claims their drivers are contractors and not employees, therefore they feel they are not entitled to vacation. Uber rejected the drivers claim on Friday by a British tribunal in a ruling that may have implications for a range of companies that rely on self-employed workers. “The Uber ruling will demystify much rhetoric on the gig economy being inherently liberating”; Guglielmo Meardi, director of the Industrial Relations Research Unit said. This ruling could potentially encourage Uber drivers in other countries to seek recognition as employees as well. Uber has fought those efforts as the change would raise its operating expenses significantly and go against its business model and identity. The ability to provide cheaper rides has been integral to its success and appeal.
While companies argue that the gig economy’s system of self-employment provides lifestyle benefits for people who choose where to work, set their own hours and take time off when they want, they also avoid many expenses associated with hiring full-time employees. Sean Nesbitt, a partner in the employment team at the international law firm, estimated that the British ruling could cost Uber millions a year in holiday pay and pension contributions. It would cost even more to guarantee a minimum wage or back pay. “The Uber tribunal judgement announced recently is considered the end of the beginning,” Sean Nesbitt. It will form a vital part of the debate on the gig economy and almost certainly be appealed, for three reasons; it’s economically significant, it affects over 100,000 UK workers in related industries, and policy makers are interested in the gig economy.
The “Uber Drivers Deserve Paid Vacation and Minimum Wage, British Court Rules” article reminds me of the theory/lesson we have been learning in class on Kant. Kant’s theory discusses the importance on doing the “right” things, treating people the way they would like to be treated/The Golden Rule. After reading this article, I believe Kant would take the stance on the drivers. These drivers are hardworking people just like everyone else, why not be treated the same and get benefits as regular employees. I’m sure some may disagree to that statement and say Uber drivers are different than regular employees; however, I believe Kant would take a stance on the drivers being treated equally and fairly as regular employees.