The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) has commenced legal action after representatives wrote to Uber to request that the pension provision arranged for drivers be made Sharia compliant.
Sharia compliance requires that pension funds should not be invested in businesses involved in activities not accepted by Islam, such as the production and sale of alcohol, tobacco, armaments, gambling, and certain financial services.
Uber launched its driver pension scheme in September 2021, as part of an agreement made with the UK pensions regulator which included backdating funds to 2017, following a Supreme Court ruling earlier in the year which found that drivers should be classed as workers, rather than self-employed contractors.
According to the ADCU, while the provision of a pension scheme has been welcomed, Uber’s failure to provide a Sharia compliant option means that some Muslim drivers have been forced out of participation in the scheme, while those that do take part may have felt forced to compromise their faith.
In its legal case, the union has stated that Uber’s pension arrangement could amount to a violation of the Equality Act 2010, as it excludes many employees due to their religion. It also noted that the Pension Act of 1998 provides a statutory right for workers not to be subject to any detriment in the pension arrangements.
The ADCU has demanded that Uber takes corrective action regarding this matter within 14 days.
Yaseen Aslam, president of the ADCU, said: “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. 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 has been contacted for comment.