New Zealand Uber drivers enter collective bargaining for the first time

New Zealand Uber drivers enter collective bargaining for the first time

New Zealand Uber drivers enter collective bargaining for the first time

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Uber drivers in New Zealand will push for better wages and working conditions through their first-ever collective agreement with the company.


Earlier this week, national union First Union launched collective bargaining with Uber. Under New Zealand labor law, if a party receives notice to open for business, they are required to enter. A period of preparation on both sides will ensue before the parties come to the table to negotiate.

The opening of collective bargaining represents the first time Uber is expected to work constructively with drivers to reach an agreement on wages and conditions since the ride-sharing company arrived in New Zealand in 2014.

More than 500 drivers have joined the union after the country’s labor court ruled last year that four Uber drivers were employees, not contractors, and Anita Rosentreter, strategic project coordinator at First Union, said said more and more were joining every day. The landmark court case granted these workers rights and protections, including minimum wage, guaranteed hours, sick leave, paid vacation, KiwiSaver (superannuation) contributions, the right to challenge unfair dismissal and the right to organize and bargain collectively.

While the ruling only affects the four drivers in the class action lawsuit against Uber, it set a precedent for defining employee status in the country based on how much control a company has over workers.

At the time, the court ruled that Uber’s incentive programs to reward consistency and quality and penalties for violations of Uber’s guidelines or slippages in quality levels demonstrated significant control.

Uber has appealed the decision, which will be heard in April.

“We were disappointed with the recent Labor Court ruling, especially as the same court ruled in 2020 that a ride-sharing driver using the Uber app was not an employee and requested permission to work. appeal which will be heard in April,” Emma Foley, chief executive of Uber New Zealand, said in a statement. “This decision underscores the need for industry-wide minimum standards for on-demand work, while preserving the flexibility and autonomy that drivers believe are important to them.”

Foley said Uber would work collaboratively with industry and government throughout the “subcontractor policy reform process.”


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