The Swiss canton of Geneva has decided to classify Uber as an employer, hence obliging it to pay social benefits to its drivers to continue operating.
Speaking to Swiss public television SRF, the head of the cantonal government Mauro Poggia said that the ride-hailing service was subject to the applicable taxi and transport law. This means Uber is currently not fulfilling its legal obligations and will have to hire its drivers and pay their social benefits, such as pensions, like other taxi companies.
According to checks carried out by the canton of Geneva, criteria such as fares, invoices and even an evaluation system for drivers are used at Uber. For this reason, the authorities rejected the arguments of Uber’s lawyers that their drivers were self-employed.
"The canton of Geneva bans Uber until the company rectifies the violations and complies with the law," said Poggia.
The authorities fear a poverty trap awaits Uber drivers who retire without pension contributions and that the general public will then have to cover the costs. Uber now has 30 days to appeal. Until then, the company may continue to operate but by the end of November, Uber must either hire its drivers and pay social benefits or go to court to appeal against the decision.
A spokewoman for Uber said on Friday that the company would appeal the decision at the administrative court.