Uber’s UK drivers gain collective bargaining with union recognition

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc. on the day of it's IPO at the NYSE in New York

LONDON (Reuters) – Uber on Wednesday said it was recognising Britain’s GMB union, allowing it to represent up to 70,000 drivers and boosting the power of workers with collective bargaining.

Recognition means a union has the right to negotiate on behalf of the workforce.

Meetings will take place quarterly to discuss issues and the pair will work on matters such as pay, pensions and safety, according to a statement released by the ride-hailing app.

Drivers will retain their ability to choose if, when and where they drive.

“Whilst Uber and GMB may not seem like obvious allies, we’ve always agreed that drivers must come first, and today we have struck this important deal to improve workers’ protections,” said Northern and Eastern Europe boss Jamie Heywood.

The Silicon Valley-based company has long faced disputes and legal action with unions over its business model.

“This agreement shows gig economy companies don’t have to be a wild west on the untamed frontier of employment rights,” said GMB National Officer Mick Rix.

In March, drivers gained workers’ rights, following a Supreme Court ruling.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)