For several months, Uber drivers have been rebelling against the American digital platform. They want to be recognized as employees and not as auto-entrepreneurs. Toulouse lawyer Christophe Marciano defends the interests of 60 of them throughout France.
Me Christophe Marciano is a lawyer in Toulouse (Upper Garonne). But for two years now, he has been traveling France, Nice, Cannes, Grasse, Nantes, Paris and its region, Lyon, Tourcoing or even Bordeaux, to fight against the giant AmericanUber. The lawyer defends around sixty drivers, nine of whom work in the capital of O ccitanie. ” My goal is to take action to have their Uber contract reclassified as an employment contract.“. Considered by the American platform as independent workers, Christophe Marciano wants to demonstrate that they are in fact real employees.
” Today my clients are paid, very poorly, on the run. They choose neither the route nor the customer. They have no independence in their “entrepreneurial” choices: they are not the ones who set the price of their work. In addition, Uber also has the option of sanctioning one of its drivers by disconnecting him from the application for one or two weeks.. ” he laments.
So many elements which prove, according to the lawyer, that there is a direct link of subordination between Uber and its drivers. On March 4, 2020, the Court of Cassation considered that the contract concluded by a worker with a digital platform may fall within the scope of employment. A precedent-setting decision confirmed on several occasions by the Paris Court of Appeal, but which has in no way changed the (bad) Uber practices.
The legal procedures are ultimately not so simple for Me Marciano’s clients: ” To the Prud’hommes d’Argenteuil, the 4 judges were unable to decide. Two were for. Two more against. We will go before a professional judge. The Conseil des Prud’hommes de Paris rejects the slightest request from drivers declaring themselves incompetent, forcing the plaintiffs to go to the court of appeal. “
For the Toulouse lawyer, this file is of crucial importance: “I Recognition of employee status would give them the protection of the Labor Code, the allocation of paid leave, a minimum wage or even, for example, the reimbursement of mileage costs, compliance with maximum working hours, payment of hours overtime, night work or work on Sundays“.
But he recognizes the very “political” side of this affair. ” Uber engulfed itself in a legal vacuum during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy and our political staff never seized the problem. It is in the image of our society which is becoming Americanized. This “uberization” of society as it is called does not respect French law. By recognizing the employment of employees within Uber, the American company would find itself in the situation of having to pay charges, which it absolutely does not currently do..“
But an awareness seems to be gradually settling. On December 9, 2021, the European Union published a proposal for a directive aimed at recognizing “bogus self-employed persons” as real employees. The Twenty seven will have to find a compromise. There is still a long way to go.