Union takes legal action against Uber over lack of Sharia pension provision

The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) has taken legal action against Uber in light of ongoing concerns that the pension provision for drivers has not been made Sharia compliant, demanding that corrective action be taken within 14 days.

Legal representatives for the union previously wrote to Uber to demand that the pension provision be made Sharia compliant, explaining that it had now resorted to legal action after the company failed to respond to this correspondence.

Up to 75 per cent of UK Uber drivers are estimated to be Muslims, according to the union, which warned that the failure to provide a Sharia compliant option means that the majority of members could be forced out of the participation in the pension scheme.

The ADCU also raised concerns that this may be a violation of the Pension Act 1998, which provides a statutory right for workers not to be subject to any detriment in the pension arrangements, and a violation of the Equality Act 2010.

Sharia compliance would require the fund to avoid investing in companies involved in activities that contravene the tenets of Islam, including, for instance, the production and sale of alcohol, tobacco, armaments, gambling, and pork.

Uber launched the first ever pension scheme for flexible workers in the private hire vehicle industry last year after the Supreme Court confirmed that Uber drivers were not self-employed, calling on other operators to work to create a cross-industry pension scheme.

However, ADCU president and lead claimant in the case, Yaseen Aslam, stated that "while Uber’s belated decision, after a decade of operations in the UK, to finally open a pension scheme for their drivers is very welcome, the exclusion of a Sharia option effectively makes the pension scheme inaccessible for the vast majority of the workforce".

“We’ve tried to resolve the matter quietly with Uber, but we have simply been stonewalled," Aslam continued.

"This is another example of how minority groups by default are forced to struggle for the most basic of rights in the gig economy.

“The ADCU is determined to contest matter through the courts to make sure Uber makes lawful, fair and inclusive pension arrangements.”

Uber confirmed that work is underway to make a Sharia compliant fund available through the driver pension scheme, and that this is expected to be made available to drivers this summer.

A spokesperson for Uber stated: “We are extremely proud to be the only ride-hailing platform to offer drivers worker benefits including a guaranteed living wage, holiday pay, and pension plan.

"The vast majority of drivers participate in our current pension scheme and we are working with our partner, Now Pensions, as they create a Sharia-compliant fund which will be available to drivers soon.”

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