Uber offering employment benefits insurance to its drivers

Following the Employment Tribunal judgement last year, Uber is to offer its UK drivers and couriers insurance coverage that include sickness, injury, maternity and paternity pay payments.

Other companies have also fallen foul of the law over the ‘gig economy’ including Amazon, CitySprint and Hermes.

The Uber move has been greeted as a victory by the GMB union which campaigning on the issue. In a statement, the union pointed out that “in October 2016, the Central London Employment Tribunal ruled in GMB’s favour – determining that Uber drivers are not self-employed, but workers entitled to basic workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks. The Employment Appeal Tribunal then upheld the ruling in November 2017.”

From the 1st June, the so-called Partner Protection insurance is to be offered in partnership with AXA. The insurance will cover more than 150,000 Uber drivers across Europe, 70,000 of whom work in the UK.

A statement from Uber unveiling the scheme said: “Uber wouldn’t be what it is without drivers and couriers – they are at the heart of the Uber experience. But along the way, we lost sight of that. We focused too much on growth and not enough on the people who made that growth possible. We called drivers ‘partners’, but didn’t always act like it. An important part of being a good partner is being a good listener.”

GMB national officer Mick Rix said: “At long last it seems Uber are starting to listen to GMB members complaints regards the company’s treatment of drivers and denying them their rights.”

However, the Independent Worker Union of Great Britain said the move didn’t deal with the issue of rights. Branch chair James Farrar said: “Sadly, this is once again a case of tinkering around the edges for a quick PR win, rather than dealing with the issue at hand. If Uber really cares about the workers on which the business relies, it should stop fighting us in court and give the drivers the rights they are entitled to under the law.”