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Uber’s Model in Africa is Clashing with Labour Laws

Uber is being forced in some countries to provide more employment benefits through court actions and in order to ease tensions with workers and regulators—and drivers in South Africa and Nigeria are taking note. In February, a group of drivers in South Africa announced plans to file a class action lawsuit against Uber for unpaid overtime and holiday pay. The drivers are hoping for a similar victory to that of their British peers, with the UK Supreme Court in February ruling that Uber must treat drivers as workers, not as self-employed contractors. That entitled drivers to benefits such as minimum wage and paid leave. (The law firm which represented the UK drivers is assisting with the South African lawsuit.) What’s becoming increasingly clear is that the US-based gig worker model is falling short to that of labor standards in other parts of the world, such as in countries like South Africa, which have a history of unionization and strong worker protections. The tensions could become a hurdle for Uber’s global growth.