Uber faces class action lawsuit in South Africa


London-based law firm Leigh Day and Johannesburg attorneys Mbuyisa Moleele have announced their intention to file a class action lawsuit against the Uber ridesharing service.

The companies said the class action lawsuit would be filed in Johannesburg’s labor court against Uber BV and Uber SA on behalf of South African Uber drivers.

The claim is based on the drivers’ entitlement to rights as employees under South African law and will seek compensation for unpaid overtime and paid time off.

This follows a UK Supreme Court ruling on Friday February 19 that Uber drivers should be legally classified as workers rather than independent contractors and as such are entitled to similar benefits .

Leigh Day represented UK Uber drivers in the case in which lower courts, including the English Court of Appeal, also ruled in favor of the drivers, the companies said.

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“South Africa’s employment status and rights legislation – the Employment Relations Act and the Basic Terms and Conditions of Employment Act – is very similar to UK labor law,” the workers said. companies.

“In addition, Uber operates a similar system in South Africa, with drivers using an app, which the UK Supreme Court found that drivers’ work was’ tightly defined and controlled ‘by Uber.”

Uber responds

In response to questions sent by BusinessTech, an Uber spokesperson said that the vast majority of drivers who use the Uber app say they want to work independently.

“We’ve already made significant changes to our app to make sure we support this, including through partner injury protection, new security features, and access to quality private health coverage. and affordable for drivers and their families, on purpose.

“We continue to do as much as possible to improve the earning potential of drivers and to take advantage of innovative offers such as fuel bonuses, vehicle maintenance and other special offers to help them.

“At a time when we need more jobs, not less, we believe that Uber and other platforms can be a bridge to a sustainable economic recovery. Uber has already produced thousands of sustainable economic opportunities.

“This is a testament to the attractiveness of the Uber business model which provides drivers with independent status while allowing them to grow and expand their businesses according to their needs and schedules as well as their business skills and plans, and pursue all economic activities of their choice. “

Uber has released more information on the UK’s decision on its Blog in which he points out that the judgment does not reclassify all UK drivers as workers.

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He added that the legal case assessed the Uber app as it looked in 2016 and therefore ignored any substantial changes to the company since then.

“The worker is a specific UK legal classification and a worker is not an employee. Employee status has not been claimed in the litigation and therefore this decision does not consider the claimants to be employees, ”the company said.

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“Over the past few years, we’ve made significant changes to our business and have been guided by drivers every step of the way. Many of the examples cited in the judgment are no longer relevant.

“For example, drivers now benefit from full transparency on the price and destination of their trip, and since 2017, the rejection of several consecutive trips has not had an impact.”

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