Minister Brooke van Velden confirms meeting with Uber over contractor law change

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden has confirmed she met with Uber, as she considers banning contractors from going to court over their employment status.

Van Velden says the meeting was not because of an ongoing court case over whether Uber drivers are employees or contractors. However, the legislation she is consulting on would have implications for similar cases in the future.

Government officials are preparing advice on removing the right for contractors to challenge their employment status. The move was set out in the coalition agreement between National and ACT.

Official Information Act documents show she intended to discuss the potential law change at the meeting with Uber on 1 May.

The documents stated she had asked “officials for advice on policy options to increase certainty in contracting relationships, including your proposal” and was interested to hear views from a wide range of stakeholders on the potential law change.

“The implications of the potential changes required to achieve this are significant, and will impact a range of working relationships across the New Zealand economy. They will need to be carefully considered.

“It would be great to hear the views of a wide range of stakeholders, including Uber, so I appreciate you meeting with me today.”

The minister’s office confirmed Uber had reached out to secure the meeting.

“I meet with a range of people on a range of different policy topics,” van Velden said.

Unions are concerned about the policy, with the Council of Trade Unions calling it an attack on workers rights.

The minister confirmed she has had at least one meeting with a union representative this year, but did not say if it was related to the policy changes.

She rejected having any involvement in who was approached for targeted discussions about the policy.

“From what I understand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are doing their own stakeholder analysis – but I haven’t had any input into that.

“That’s really a question for MBIE as to who they would like as their stakeholder analysis.”

Labour workplace relations spokesperson Camilla Belich is also concerned about the potential law change.

She said the meeting between Uber and van Velden could mean the minister was looking to change the law as other countries had done, “to allow a third status of employment that isn’t an employee or isn’t a contractor”.

“I think it’s worrying that we have a party in power now which is proposing to take away the right of employees to test their employment status in court.”

When asked about that possibility, the Minister said she was still making policy decisions so could not disclose where her thinking was going to land with the coalition agreement.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button