US appeals court issues decision on Uber driver's rights to unionise

11 May 2018

A federal appeals court in the USA issued a decision saying that a regulation passed in 2015 by the city of Seattle to allow Uber and Lyft drives to unionise was not lawful. The decision was issued in a lawsuit brought by the US Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which claimed that the regulation was in breach of the antitrust law: if drivers negotiate over their pay, which is based on ride fares, they would be able to fix prices, and thus violate antitrust laws. A federal judge in Seattle initially ruled against the ICC, stating that the state of Washington had authorised cities to regulate the ride-hailing industry. But the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Washington state laws allow municipalities to regulate rates that companies charge to passengers, but not the fees that drives pay the companies they work for. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Seattle Court to reconsider it. Supporters of the Seattle regulation argue that allowing drivers to unionise would improve their working conditions, while the industry claims that the appeals court's decision 'will maintain the flexibility of drivers to choose when, where and for how long they drive'

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It is frequently mentioned that the Internet is changing the way in which we work. ICTs have blurred the traditional routine of work, free time, and sleep (8+8+8 hours), especially in multinational corporation working environment. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish where work starts and where it ends. These changes in working patterns may require new labour legislation, addressing such issues as working hours, the protection of labour interests, and remuneration.

Historically, telecommunications, broadcasting, and other related areas were separate industry segments; they used different technologies and were governed by different regulations.


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