'You can't just make up your own employment law' - Kiwi Uber drivers encouraged by UK ruling

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Kiwi Uber drivers are considering their legal options, following a landmark employment tribunal ruling in the United Kingdom.

Ben Wilson of the NZ Uber Drivers Association says drivers here want negotiations on "a proper independent contractor agreement that's enforceable".
Source: 1 NEWS

The ruling found Uber should treat their drivers in Britain as employees, rather than contractors.

This means they are entitled to receive minimum wage, paid rest breaks, and holiday pay.

Uber is appealing the decision, but New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association chair Ben Wilson does not think they will be successful.

"As soon as it reached a court it was always going to be very obvious that you can't just make up your own employment law," he said.

"That's essentially what they’re doing."

Mr Wilson says the New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association is not currently pursuing an employment law case, but has a number of disputes in the pipeline.

These "will come out in the next couple of weeks," he says, adding that further action is being considered. 

Mr Wilson says they have avoided employment court before now because of the cost, although with a successful ruling in Britain it's possible they will change their minds.

"When the likelihood of winning a case gets that much higher, then the expense becomes a lot more justifiable," he said.

Ultimately he wants to see Uber enter negotiations regarding a proper contract with drivers in New Zealand, to resolve disputes over pay and work conditions.

"If they’re not interested in doing that then we'll pursue after them in every way we can.

“So it may be employment law, it may even be the fair trading act and actually pushing to have them shut down outright," he said.

There are around 3000 Uber drivers in New Zealand and the New Zealand Uber Drivers' Association represents around 500 kiwi drivers. 

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