How does the minimum income for drivers work?
This is an “unprecedented in France” deal, a mechanism that will allow a real jump of “more than 27% compared to the currently lowest net minimum income” of VTC drivers. Since the arrival of platforms like Uber, drivers’ vulnerabilities, both their own and those subject to app policies, are frequently pointed out. And in recent years, the Covid crisis and then soaring fuel prices have complemented drivers’ financial health.
From February 1, they will see an increase in their remuneration, especially for short trips, with a minimum earnings of 7.65 euros. For comparison, a taxi in France has a minimum fare of 7.30 euros. How is it different from the existing remuneration? What will be the cost for the user? Is this a sufficient price to protect the driver? 20 minutes took stock with two union members who took part in the discussion.
How will the current remuneration develop at this minimum rate?
Within the framework of the new regulatory authority for the employment platform (Arpe), created last May, the unions have been working “for four months” to “clear” the ground for social dialogue in the sector, to use the term of Florence Dodin, Unsa’s delegate for the negotiations. Until now, the platform was “free to increase or decrease the price of races on a whim, request”. Thus, a platform that has just arrived on the market can “cut its price” to attract customers, and therefore drivers, the union member explained to 20 minutes. “In the platform wars, drivers go to the one that offers the most races,” and often the cheapest, adds Yassine Bensaci, vice president of AVF, the majority union in the sector.
Currently, Uber is practicing the lowest fares for its drivers, with a minimum income of 6 euros. From February 1, it was forced to increase its price to 7.65 euros. “Therefore, we experienced a 27% increase in net driver income”, welcomed Florence Dodin, whose increase “will avoid social dumping”. But the text does not precisely define the boundaries of so-called “minor races”, which do not necessarily involve the same travel time or the same distance in Lille or in Paris. “It’s up to the driver to judge whether the race is profitable or not”, according to the price that the platform is still offering.
What are the consequences for the customer?
For trips that do not fall into the “minor race” category, the final price has no reason to change, although some platforms may reschedule their price list. But even for small races, nothing really fixes. “Each platform will try to improve its profits” and the commission is applied to minor races, explains Florence Dodin. Therefore, no one is saying that the shortest Uber ride will suddenly increase by 1.65 euros… But applying this calculation, the trip will then return to 10.20 for the customer.
Coupled with this bad news for the wallet is good news for fans of late and rainy nights: the stated goal is to reduce the turn-down rate of these minor races, which are often seen as unprofitable. “Many of these races were rejected because they were not profitable enough”, agrees AFP Laureline Seyries, general manager of Uber France. According to him, this agreement “will lead to better ride acceptance rates for drivers and better reliability”. The volume of rejected races could drop by 5 to 10% according to him.
The origin of the problem is twofold for Yassine Bensaci. On the one hand, “we have accustomed customers to paying the wrong price”, with service “at the level of X range”, taken from luxury drivers, but “going to Uberpop prices when this service was banned in France” to retain customers. “In 2014, a liter of diesel was 1.05 euros and drivers were paid a minimum of 8 euros,” he illustrates. On the other hand, the LOM law, which union members recognize as a “law of protection”, has allowed drivers to refuse the least profitable trips… namely small trips.
Are other advances still to be negotiated?
“When a driver has 15 minutes of approaches to the race that will save him 4 euros, he refuses”, interrupted Yassine Bensaci. Currently, approach mileage is entirely the responsibility of the driver, which the AVF vice president is keen to change. “This first deal is just a step”, stressed Florence Dodin, who wants to “build a successful set of demands”. On the table for the next few months, “negotiations on revenue from longer races”, study of platform algorithms, and “termination by platform” of drivers, announced two union members simultaneously. After that, the minimum income agreement will be reviewed annually.