Uber files highlights the importance of protecting workers from unethical platform companies

11 Jul 2022

ETF is very concerned about Uber’s illegal and unethical practices, as revealed by the Guardian via the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

ETF takes very seriously all the abuses unveiled via the leaked information. The long list of illegal and unethical behaviour such as; knowingly putting Uber drivers’ safety at risk, breaking laws, circumventing rules, and not respecting workers’ rights, confirm that Uber is an unethical company. It is outrageous to have undeniable proof of a company’s executives acknowledging their law-breaking explicitly in internal communications. Uber’s behaviour has a direct negative effect on the health and safety, and working conditions of drivers.

In their immediate response to the leaks, Uber alleged that the company culture has changed under its current CEO. Yet, it is a long way from words to actions.

In fact, Uber faces a critical choice: to either continue its illegal and unethical practices or act as a responsible employer. For now, one fact is clear: Uber continues to fight against meeting their obligations as an employer in European courts. Uber fails to recognize the status of drivers as employees and stop the practice of bogus self-employment.

As our President, Frank Moreels, puts it:

Let’s face it. Drivers who work for Uber are actually bogus self-employed. They must buy or lease their car themselves while obliged to meet the specifications that Uber imposes. Moreover, they also have to cover their own insurance against illness, accident, and civil liability … But they do get their orders from Uber“.

Furthermore, Uber must also engage constructively with the European Commission’s draft platform directive and stop trying to oppose it at every opportunity. As the platform directive is currently being discussed at the European Parliament, MEPs should be very critical of Uber’s lobbying motivations.

In full transparency, members of the European Parliament must ask themselves what interests they are serving during their mandate: to an unethical multinational or the workers whose dedication, efforts and daily sacrifices provide their labour to the company.

ETF will continue to fight for a level playing field and for a directive that protects workers from the unethical behaviour of platform companies such as Uber.