Uber has been all over the news recently with their decision to treat all driver employees as contracted workers. This has helped them to curve overhead as they haven’t had to provide benefits or healthcare to any of the drivers, although many of them may put in more than 40 hours in a typical work week. That is in America.
Some countries in Europe, however, have gone to even greater lengths to ensure that Uber is not abusing the system of labor and taking away from the rights of their workers. France, the Netherlands, and Brussels have all outlawed Uber as a business and means of cheap transportation, yet the corporation continued to operate despite the illegalities of such an enterprise.
The name of the French Uber is UberX, although it is run exactly like the Uber corporation in the United States. There is absolutely no requirement for driving certifications or licenses to be able to operate as a driver under the French UberX. This infuriated the drivers’ unions throughout France, who demanded that it be stopped.
Initially, France had been fining drivers for utilizing Uber as their medium for business, but now have converted those into company fines, leaving the drivers to continue on. This may be a lasting strategy that will cause the company to pay fines while continuing to pay their illegal drivers, ultimately forcing the company into complying with the law. After all, when the bank account is hit corporations start to finally pay attention.
As a result, last Thursday French authorities raided the Uber HQ offices, in an attempt to shut down the company. They claim that Uber has not only violated the labor laws, but also has manipulated data and is concealing digital documents.
Due to violent protests on the day of the raid the French authorities were unable to apprehend the leaders of the French Uber company. But as of this morning both the CEO of the French subsidiary of Uber, as well as the European CEO of the company, were both taken into custody by authorities. It is unknown whether this will foment any change in the situation or even if they will remain in custody, but this is another reminder that the fight for equal pay and labor rights is far from over throughout many parts of the civilized world today.
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