Uber and Lyft’s “bogus” arguments do not hold water, said the California attorney general, who won a first court victory against the two American leaders in chauffeured car reservations, on Tuesday.
A California court on Monday ordered the two companies to requalify their drivers as employees within ten days, in accordance with the law of this US state in force since January 1, 2020, and drafted with Uber and Lyft in its sights.
The two companies will appeal the decision. “Drivers don’t want to be employees, period,” Lyft responded, promising to “keep fighting for their independence.”
Xavier Becerra, the California prosecutor, accuses them of imposing precarious statuses on their drivers, depriving them of social rights such as minimum wage or health insurance.
He welcomed this first court decision, which “broke through” the “bogus arguments” of the platforms.
“What worker doesn’t want sick leave? What worker does not want unemployment insurance in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis? What worker does not want to be paid for his overtime if he works 60 hours a week or 12 hours a day? ”He said indignantly in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday.
Uber and Lyft intend to solve the problem by holding a referendum to annul the California text and by offering better working conditions and benefits for contract workers.
Both say, with polls, that most drivers want to remain independent in order to enjoy greater professional flexibility.
“If we accepted this reasoning, the majority of industries that rely on technology to quickly gain market share could, with impunity, deprive legions of workers of the basic protections they are entitled to,” noted Judge Ethan Schulman in his decision.
According to Lyft, drivers prefer to remain independent 4 to 1. The company estimates that 86% of its California drivers drive less than 20 hours per week and want to keep control of their schedule, because they are students, retirees. or have another job.
Uber, for its part, released an 18-page document on Monday to make its arguments.
The group believes that the requalification required by law would ultimately harm both drivers and customers, because the application would be available in fewer places and the price of rides would increase.