Union GMB will now represent Uber drivers after striking a deal with the ride-hailing firm, it was announced this evening.
The firm’s 70,000 drivers will now be able to choose to be represented by the union if they wish, in a first for the sector.
The deal comes months after Uber said it would treat its drivers as workers after a long-awaited Supreme Court verdict said they should be entitled to the National Living Wage and annual leave.
In a joint statement, the two said that they would work together on earnings principles, pensions, health and safety concerns, and other benefits.
GMB national officer Mick Rix said that “history had been made” by the deal, and called on other ride-hailing operators to follow suit.
“This groundbreaking deal between GMB and Uber could be the first step to a fairer working life for millions of people”, he said.
“This agreement shows gig economy companies don’t have to be a wild west on the untamed frontier of employment rights. When tech private hire companies and unions work together like this, everyone benefits – bringing dignified, secure employment back to the world of work.”
Jamie Heywood, regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, Uber said: “Today we have struck this important deal to improve workers’ protections.
“Uber is the only major player in the industry to provide drivers with a National Living Wage guarantee, holiday pay and a pension, and this historic agreement means that Uber will be the first in the industry to ensure that its drivers also have full union representation.”
The App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU), which was founded by two former Uber drivers who led the five-year case against the firm, welcomed the deal, but said it would not enter into a similar deal with Uber at this point.
“We believe closer trade union engagement with Uber management is always a welcome development but there is good reason for workers and their unions to be cautious”, it said in a statement.
“At this time ADCU is not prepared to enter into a recognition agreement with Uber. This is because Uber continues to violate basic employment law such as the right to minimum wage and holiday for all working time despite the recent UK Supreme Court ruling found in our favour.”