Uber had argued that it is only a platform to help passengers find drivers and should be exempt from regulations covering taxi firms, but the opinion by the advocate general at the court of justice of the European Union contradicts this. If it is supported by the final ruling in the case by the ECJ in a few months, national governments will have to apply their own registration or operating requirements to the company, including licensing.
Mac Urata, ITF inland transport secretary, said: “We welcome this opinion, but it simply backs up what everyone has known for a long time. If the ECJ adopts its final position in line with this opinion, it will set an important precedent as to how the ‘gig economy' will be regulated in the months to come.
“But let’s not celebrate before we are out of the woods. I am sure Uber will make every effort to change the course of the final decision."
Umberto de Pretto, general secretary of the International Road Transport Union (IRU), described the opinion as an important step towards giving the taxi industry a level playing field to compete with the new so-called transportation network companies.
In March Uber pulled out of Denmark after an ITF union backed campaign, and the ITF is supporting workers around the globe fighting against Uber and its business model – including in Argentina, India and Qatar and Japan.