There’s an old saying that nothing in life is free. Before Uber arrived in the Netherlands, I despised using taxis in Amsterdam, especially at night. Many were blatant rip-off artists who would attempt to ignore the meter and make up their prices or take the longest route possible to squeeze money out of their (non-Dutch) clients. So when Uber came along, I was happier than a Dutch guy receiving payment of a 3 euros Tikkie.
The pros of using Uber
- Door-to-door service.
- No need to queue up at busy taxi ranks
- No need to argue with the drivers about the price of getting to a destination
- No scenic detours via Utrecht while travelling in Amsterdam
- Bloody reasonable price (unless surge pricing is active)
The Cons of using a traditional taxi service
- Kut rip-off artists
- Do you speak English? You must be an ignorant tourist who we can rob blind
- The meter runs faster than Usain Bolt at his peak
- Once you’re in the taxi, the driver will proceed to have a very loud telephone conversation or numb your senses with blaring techno
So Uber was a huge win for its multi-billion dollar parent company and its shareholders.
A win for its customers.
However, the trades union representing taxis in the Netherlands, the FNV, have long complained about Uber drivers’ poor pay and conditions.
Milking doesn’t only take place on farms
A crucial part of Uber’s business model is milking its self-employed drivers like dairy cows. By using only ZZPers, Uber doesn’t have to pay any of the following:
- Sick pay
- Employers insurance
- Holiday pay
We have enjoyed the services of Uber at a reasonable price precisely because Uber pays the drivers chicken feed for their time. They can do this by claiming their drivers are genuinely “self-employed” entrepreneurs.
Don’t get me wrong; Uber isn’t the only organisation doing this. If you’ve ever wondered why PostNL and DHL couriers don’t give a stroopwafel about where they deliver your leopard print sneakers. It’s precisely because PostNL uses a similar employment model to Uber. They pay the bare legal minimum while making profits for their shareholders.
2021 Court Ruling Against Uber
In 2021 the trade union the FNV won a court ruling against Uber that confirmed that the drivers are employees and should be hired as such by Uber. The ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid also ruled that Uber drivers are employees rather than self-employed.
2021 Court Ruling Against Uber upheld
Being a responsible and caring organisation, Uber appealed the court ruling. Yesterday, the courts confirmed that Uber drivers are covered by the CAO (Collective Bargaining Agreement) that the FNV has negotiated for taxi drivers in the Netherlands. This means that Uber should pay their drivers according to the deal agreed for the Dutch taxi market in the Netherlands. Obviously, the executives of Uber would rather chop off their own heads with a blunt butter knife than actually pay their drivers what they’re entitled to.
The next time you’re in an Uber
Enjoy the ride, but remember that the journey is only possible at that price because Uber keeps the costs they pay their drivers lower than a worm’s belly.
Or as that old nursery rhymes says.
Old MacUber had a farm
Ee i ee i o
And on his farm he had some drivers
Ee i ee i oh
With an excuse here
And a one-sided contract there
And an f-you here
an f-you there
Here a fu*k, there a fu*k,
Everywhere a fu*k you
Old MacUber had a farm
Ee i ee i o
No cows were hurt during the writing of this article.
Until next time, tap dancing is a great way to stay fit, but don’t fall in the sink.