In another setback for Uber, a Swiss insurance agency has ruled one of the ride-hailing app’s drivers in an employees, which means the company would have to pay social security contributions for him.
The ruling came from Suva – a public sector provider of work accident insurance – which is mandatory in Switzerland.
Suva reportedly concluded the driver is staff because he faced consequences for not meeting Uber rules and could not set prices and payment terms independently.
A Suva spokesman said it concerned a particular driver who had sought to clarify his status, not a general ruling on Uber’s business model: “For us it is not about the company but about the person involved.”
Uber insists its drivers are freelance contractors which has led to accusations it is bypassing national labour protection standards.
Trade union representatives hailed the ruling, but local Uber boss Rasoul Jalali said they will challenge it.
Jalali added that Suva had classified independent drivers as employees in other cases before Uber arrived in Switzerland, triggering other challenges.
“Taxi dispatchers have had exactly this issue for years and yet today there is not one driver employed by a big dispatcher in cities such as Zurich or Geneva. So this is nothing new in Switzerland and we will challenge it, just as others have,” he said in a statement.
“Drivers using the Uber app are independent contractors who enjoy all the flexibility and freedom that come with being self-employed.”
The company is also appealing against a British employment tribunal ruling in October 2016 that it can no longer treat its UK drivers as self-employed and has to pay them the minimum wage and holiday pay.