A Swiss insurance agency has ruled an Uber driver is in fact an employee for whom the company must pay social security contributions, dealing a blow to the U.S. ride-hailing platform that says drivers are independent contractors.
Suva – which as a provider of obligatory on-the-job accident insurance in Switzerland helps decide which workers are freelance – found an Uber Technology [UBER.UL] driver was staff because he faced consequences if he broke Uber rules and could not set prices and payment terms independently, broadcaster SRF reported.
The California-based startup whose cab service has expanded worldwide vowed to challenge the ruling, the latest clash with regulators that have accused it of bypassing national labor protection standards and shunning collective negotiation with drivers who work on freelance terms.
A Suva spokesman confirmed the report but said it concerned a particular driver who had sought to clarify his status, not a general ruling on Uber’s business model. “For us it is not about the company but about the person involved,” he said.
Founded in 2009, Uber has taken the world by storm but come up against opposition too. Various services it has proposed have been banned in some countries and it faces numerous battles in U.S. courts over labor standards, safety rules and pricing policies that trigger fare surges at peak times.
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Source: Stephanie Ellis, Vice President of Compliance for iWorkGlobal