Are drivers of Ola, Uber their employees? HC to decide

The court has sought the centre’s response on whether drivers engaged with Ola, Uber could be classified as employees in order to be eligible for benefits under labour laws


If drivers of Ola/Uber were to be considered as employees, they could be able to avail of numerous social welfare benefits. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
If drivers of Ola/Uber were to be considered as employees, they could be able to avail of numerous social welfare benefits. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday sought the centre’s response on whether drivers engaged with cab aggregators such as Uber and Ola could be classified as employees/workmen or not in order to be eligible for benefits under labour laws.

The matter was mentioned before justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, who also sought the response of the Delhi government before the next date of hearing.

The court was hearing a plea by the Delhi commercial driver union, a registered trade union of drivers working with Ola/Uber which sought the court’s direction for setting up a committee to monitor implementation of labour laws with regard to drivers working with cab aggregators and to address their grievances. This was aimed at improving their basic working conditions and other aspects of employment.

Akash Vajpai, counsel for the trade union, submitted that the issue had gained relevance in light of recent foreign judgments which had held drivers of cab aggregators to be employees.

It has been contended by the driver union that if drivers of Ola/Uber were to be considered as employees, they could be able to avail of numerous social welfare benefits under different statutes including the Workman’s Compensation Act 1923, Payment of Wages Act 1936, and Employees’ State Insurance Act 1948.

Accordingly, it has challenged the change of service conditions relating to wages, hours of work, withdrawal of concession and privilege and introduction of new rules of discipline against its drivers by cab aggregators.

The case will be heard next on 10 August.

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