Uber Eats delivery staff in Tokyo granted worker status
Labour officials in Japan have recognised Uber Eats delivery staff as workers under labour union law, in a decision that is likely to impact the broader gig economy.
Uber Eats has maintained that delivery staff working for the platform in Japan are not considered workers, as they regard them as customers using the platform’s service and not as a labour force. It said that the decision by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Labour Relations Commission is “very regrettable”, and will deliberate before deciding how to respond, which could include requesting a re-examination of the case.
The commission highlighted that the operator not only supplies a platform for work to delivery staff, but is also involved in the performance of their duties, adding that delivery staff are strongly presumed to supply labour because various operations, such as suspension of customer accounts, are carried out with the involvement of the operator.
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Uber Eats Union, a labour union comprising delivery workers from the platform, has been calling for collective negotiations because delivery staff work as sole proprietors and are not covered by workers’ accident compensation and employment insurance programmes.