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Are owner-drivers at risk again? And what about Uber employees?

Friday, February 03, 2017

You’ll recall the mess last year in the attempts to destroy the businesses of owner-drivers in Australia.

However, the Victorian government is now reviewing its owner-driver laws, laws that we say are pretty good as they stand. We don’t think the review is looking to set up price-fixing as happened under the disbanded federal law. But Federal Labor voted to keep the disbanded laws. Who knows what the Victorian Labor government’s agenda might be? We urge owner-drivers to keep a close eye on this.

We’ve made a submission.
In our submission, we:
  • Express our support for the existing Victorian laws.
  • In principle think that non-mandatory price advice could be helpful on the condition that such ‘advice’ is truly non-mandatory.
  • Suggest inclusion of the Federal Unfair Contract laws in the Victorian owner-driver laws.

For those of you interested in the progress of the damages class action on the disbanded truckies laws (RSRT), lawyers are continuing their work on this. It’s a very slow, detailed process!

Uber employees?
You might also recall our comment in November last year on two Uber drivers in London being declared employees. We expect that, eventually, the London decision will be overturned on appeal. Appeals have not yet occurred. However, a Florida appeals court has just declared Uber drivers to be independent contractors.  
We think the London decision is spin.

It’s also interesting that Uber last year agreed to pay up to $100 million to settle a pair of class-action lawsuits filed by drivers in California and Massachusetts which claimed that drivers were employees. However, the settlement allows Uber to continue to classify the drivers as independent contractors. Activists lawyers making big money?


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