Uber Technologies Inc. is curbing its one-size-fits-all strategy by drafting a driver support scheme catered to France, specifically designed to sway local unions threatening to protest in Paris.
After weeks of negotiating under the state’s watch, the car-hailing app has proposed to bring its employees together with French drivers’ union and government representatives in a committee that will award financial help to chauffeurs. Uber would also hand-hold those drivers into managing their business better, as part of a package it’s drafting that has yet to win approval from unions.
Paris, one of the car-hailing app’s biggest markets, has been prime ground for Uber to show it can adapt to local constraints while expanding globally. When drivers blocked roads to ask for better pay at the end of last year, it created a two million euro ($2.1 million) fund to support drivers facing financial difficulties. When chauffeurs took to the streets a few months before to protest against government decisions, Uber went on strike alongside them.
Chauffeurs making less than 21 euros per hour in gross revenue while working at least 40 hours a week would be eligible to get a top-up, an Uber representative in Paris said by phone. The compensation would be temporary and part of helping drivers get back on their feet by making adjustments to improve their income in a sustainable way, he said.
The proposal is the outcome of weeks of discussions with union representatives, coordinated by a government-appointed mediator. Jacques Rapoport on Tuesday said Uber’s offer hasn’t won over drivers at this point, but it’s enough to convince him not to suggest the state vote a new law that would force a minimum wage for all chauffeurs.
“Drivers unions want higher prices and a smaller cut for Uber — the company is absolutely not ready to satisfy those demands,” Rapoport said. “I personally find Uber’s latest proposal satisfying. It’s up to the platforms, not chauffeurs to set their own prices and define their own commercial strategies.”
Whether the law should be tweaked to include new business models like Uber’s is a debate that’s fueling legal disputes in countries from the U.S. to the U.K., as drivers raise questions about their rights and benefits as independent contractors.
Rapoport said he’ll submit a report to the government after advising companies and unions on a potential compromise, and said he’d recommend the government set a legal minimum wage equivalent for chauffeurs only if Uber doesn’t implement promised measures.
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
This article was written by Marie Mawad from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.