The Hague (AFP)

A Dutch court ruled on Monday that Uber drivers in the Netherlands are indeed under employment contracts and are not self-employed, a further blow to the American giant in the reservation of cars with drivers.

This judgment, in a case led by a Dutch union, comes a few months after a similar decision by an English court which had led the American company to recognize its British drivers as salaried workers.

“The legal relationship between Uber and these drivers meets all the characteristics of an employment contract,” and the drivers are covered by the collective agreement for taxi drivers, the Amsterdam district court said in a statement.

"This means that Uber is obliged to institute an employment contract with the drivers (...) and therefore that these drivers are entitled to wage arrears in certain circumstances," the court said.

Uber, which insists it is simply providing a technical platform to connect independent drivers and customers, said it would appeal the decision.

FNV, the largest union in the Netherlands, took Uber to court in December, claiming taxi drivers and the American group fall under the same collective agreement and Uber drivers often earn less than minimum wage.

"We are disappointed with this decision because we know that the vast majority of drivers want to remain independent," commented Maurits Schoenfeld, general manager of Uber Northern Europe, in a statement sent to AFP.

“Drivers don't want to give up their freedom to choose if, when and where they want to work,” he added.

In March, Uber announced it would grant its UK drivers salaried status, with benefits including minimum wage, a world first for the US company.

Elsewhere in the world, it has resisted this major change in its business model, arguing that its drivers are self-employed.

© 2021 AFP