Toronto – March 11, 2021 – Uber’s recent proposal to provincial governments to set up an alternative set of regulations governing gig workers that Uber calls Flexible Work+ is nothing but a cynical ploy to ignore labour rights.
“Uber is really just flexing and dodging the fact that they are the employer, and its workers are employees who are entitled to the full protection and rights under current labour laws, including the right to unionize,” says Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada National President.
“This cynical ploy about so-called benefits shows how desperate Uber is to maintain control over its employees and avoid any meaningful conversations in regard to their employees’ rights to collective bargaining,” says Brother Meinema.
On the heels of a recent Supreme Court decision in the UK which ruled that Uber drivers are in fact employees, Uber recently announced their proposal for changes to Canadian provincial labour laws to provide gig workers some benefits, while still declaring those workers as independent contractors, not employees.
“This is just Uber’s latest tactic to circumvent the labour laws and deny Uber workers the same rights as other workers,” says Pablo Godoy, UFCW Canada Coordinator of Gig and Platform Employer Initiatives. “The idea that employers like Uber would like to unilaterally impose business models is not only a dangerous proposition. It also ignores decades of hard-fought legislation meant to protect workers.”
Across Canada, UFCW Canada is hearing from drivers that they feel that Uber’s recent announcement ignores their calls for meaningful representation, union protection and access to basic labour laws. “If Uber wants to give drivers protections, they should recognize our union and respond to the issues we have raised over the years, “says Ejaz Butt, a Toronto-based Uber driver and UFCW Canada union member.
Similar sentiments are being echoed in Alberta, where Uber Eats courier Mark McCormack explains that “Uber has continually ignored our needs, and its proposal to create a system for protection without consulting its employees on how that should work is disappointing.”
Since launching the Uber Drivers United (www.ufcw.ca/uber) campaign in 2019, UFCW has become the leading voice for ride-hailing drivers in Canada, bringing union membership to hundreds of Uber Black drivers in Toronto and spearheading organizing efforts in British Columbia, as well as other parts of the country.
To learn more about the campaign to bring justice and fairness to Uber and other ride hailing drivers, visit UFCW’s Uber Drivers United website.