The Slovenia Times

Trade unions fear Uber will only expand precarious work


"We will become individualists, without a bit of solidarity. And if there is no solidarity, all social systems in this country collapse," ZSSS executive secretary Andrej Zorko told the press on Tuesday.

He said that it was worrying how easily the government and politicians subjected themselves to capital, adding that the arrival of Uber meant that politics wanted to turn workers into service providers and employers into service customers.

"This is undermining the employment relationships in Slovenia. This is planned circumvention of the established standards in Slovenia," Zorko said, expressing his expectation that the ministry would shelf the relevant changes to the road transport act.

Saška Kiara Kumer of the Transport and Communications Trade Union (SDPZ) was critical of the fact that the public debate on the bill, unveiled in mid-January, would take only one month, and that it did not include social partners.

According to her, the bill is problematic from several aspects. She pointed to the new model for public transportation, deregulation of taxi services, and the elimination of the mandatory use of taximeters when the price is known in advance.

Any reduction of prices is disputable also from the aspect of social security of taxi drivers. Prices on the market are already low as they are and taxi drivers cannot earn for a decent living with normal daily working hours, she said.

Taxi driver Mario Azinović agreed, saying that his colleagues fully opposed the arrival of Uber in Slovenia. He is bothered by unfair competition, the abolition of national licences and the transfer of powers for regulation of taxi transport to local authorities.

Tea Jarc of the youth trade union Mladi Plus added that the proposal was designed to reduce worker standards and expand the terrain for precarious forms of work.

Practices used by Uber in other countries violate the labour legislation as drivers do not get the status of an employed person, regardless of the volume of work they perform, she said, adding that the service was even banned in certain countries.

According to Jarc, the system of assessment of Uber drivers is also disputable, as it could result in discrimination. "It does not guarantee that the customer will really assess the service. An assessment could be given based on gender, race or ethnicity."

Her colleague Izidor Ostan Ožbolt added that the proposal was contradictory, as one of its key objectives was to increase the popularity of public transportation. Countries which allow Uber are recording opposite trends, he added.


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