Uber drivers are employees, according to the Federal Court

Engaged in a legal battle against Uber since 2019, Geneva has summoned the multinational to put itself “in order” and consider drivers using its application as employees, not freelancers. Following an appeal by the company, the Federal Court is now ruling in favor of the authorities. This is the epilogue to a procedure launched by Councilor of State Mauro Poggia, then in charge of the Department of Employment.

Having since inherited the case, Councilor of State Fabienne Fischer did not hesitate to describe the decision of the Federal Court as “historic” in a press conference, highlighting “a major step forward for working conditions, protection employees and the fight against unfair competition ”. Following the arrest of the judges of Mon repos, Uber will have to stop its driver transport activities as early as Saturday midnight. It is only after it has complied with Geneva law that the multinational will be able to offer its services again. In the fall of 2019, Geneva had 700 drivers regularly using the Uber app, according to the platform.

Retroactive cropping

In practice, it is now up to the multinational, considered as an employer, to regularize the situation of drivers who have used its platform, with retroactive effect. These are the hours worked since October 2019, the date of the first decision of the Commercial Police and the fight against undeclared work (PCTN).

Also read: Faced with Uber, the cantons do not react like Geneva

Establishment of employment contracts, holidays, minimum wage, occupational pensions and social security contributions; Drivers’ incomes will have to be combed and offset to stick to the Taxi and Driver’s Car Act, passed by the Grand Council in 2017. An ant job that could cost the company dearly.

“The decision has been notified to Uber, and we assume it will work together,” said Christina Stoll, director general of the Cantonal Office of Labor Inspection and Relations (OCIRT). We hope that in two and a half years, she has prepared for this outcome. ”

The decision is a relief for professional taxi drivers, who call on the authorities to closely monitor Uber’s worker protection rules.

Ricochet on Uber Eats

The Federal Court applies the same reasoning to the status of home meal deliverers, who are also considered employees. However, he ruled out the existence of a service lease between Uber Eats and restaurateurs, according to the canton of Geneva. These meal deliveries are therefore not threatened by a temporary cessation of activity.

Also read: Geneva urges Uber to comply with the law

For the Unia trade union, the delivery activity therefore falls directly within the scope of the national hotel and catering collective bargaining agreement. “It simply came to our notice then benefit from working conditions similar to those delivered directly by restaurants, ”he argues.

Uber replies

In response to the two federal court rulings, Uber deplores the failure to take into account the changes it has implemented over the past two years to increase the choice, control and autonomy of drivers. For the multinational, the vast majority of VTC drivers want to remain independent.

“The PCTN decision leaves us with no choice but to temporarily suspend our VTC services.” [Véhicule de tourisme avec chauffeur, ndlr] in the township while we contact the respective authorities again to find a solution that is acceptable to all. Clarifies his spokesman. Unfortunately, the PCTN and the Councilor of State have rejected our efforts to date and did not wish to receive us ”.

Also read: Uber is constantly making progress in Switzerland

If Unia welcomes the paradigm shift, the union warns of the abrupt disruption of the company’s activities: “Accompanying measures must be taken by the authorities in favor of drivers who have already been abused a lot by the multinational, ”he says.

Uber is active in more than 700 cities worldwide in 65 countries. The multinational counts more than 100 million users each month and tops more than 15 million races daily.

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