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Uber drivers now considered employees in South Africa

– here’s what it means

On Wednesday the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ruled that South Africa’s Uber drivers were not independent contractors but must instead be considered full-blown employees.

In effect, this means that these drivers are given the full protection of the Labour Relations Act which includes strict rules on hours worked, payment and leave time.

It also offers a number of protections regarding correct dismissal procedures and provides for the right to organize and strike.

According to TheNextWeb, the CCMA was forced to step in and make a decision after a number of Uber drivers approached the commission citing unfair business practices.

“The CCMA, however, was confronted with the problem that these cases couldn’t be heard because Uber insisted that they are not employees, and that they are rather independent contractors, and that they cannot be involved in any dispute in the CCMA,” said Bradley Conradie, Uber South Africa’s Legal Representative.

“So, what the award has done, is it unpacked the respective parties views on what the relationship is, and it has concluded that the Uber drivers are in fact employees.”

The ruling comes almost a year after several hundred Uber drivers in South Africa decided to join the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) as they argue that they felt they were being exploited by ride-hailing platform.

This is coming soon after Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi said that he wants Uber drivers to apply for public transport licenses and comply with legislation, or be removed from SA roads.

The minister’s comments came as tensions between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers flare up, with the former accusing the latter of stealing potential work while getting a free ride themselves from the government.

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