India-based ride hailing service Ola has been pulled to a district court in Amsterdam, Netherlands by two drivers of the company for using a new test case targeted at algorithmic management of gig workers.
The case against Ola has been supported by the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) and others that is similar to one filed in the Netherlands court by drivers against Uber in July this year.
According to the filed case, the drivers in this case are also asking for their personal data to be ported to their union’s data trust so it can be used for collective bargaining purposes. The union says that the companies have provided only partial data in request to data transfer under the GDPR-such as GPS data is not received to the Union.
In Uber’s case the company has sought to suggest EU privacy rights prevents the company from handing over the information.
In another complain in the filed case Ola has also blocked to disclose the ratings data of the drivers at the trip level that means the drivers have no way to challenge unfair and discriminatory ratings. The drivers says that the lack of data reduces their ability to analyze their own performance.
They also allege that the company’s data protection policy suggests a high degree of driver surveillance and performance management at the same as the company is denying the basic worker rights — classifying drivers as self-employed.
“Ola give tantalising detail on level of surveillance and control over workers. Fraud probability scores for drivers for example. Admit that performance factors go into dispatch decision,” an ADCU spokesperson told us.
It’s not the first time that Gig platforms are facing legal challenges over the classification of workers specifically in Europe but it’s interesting to know that the plaintiffs are know challenging the platform’s algorithmic management. They say that transparency over such systems is essential focusing on the potential of these systems impacting driver earnings.
One of the drivers that brought the case reports his pay declined after Ola’s algorithm deemed the trips made by him “invalid.”
Commenting on the suit in a statement, Yaseen Aslam, president of ADCU said: “Ola could choose to use its technology for good to ensure drivers are well paid, protected and treated with dignity at work. Instead Ola has taken advantage of its position of platform power to exploit and impoverish its workforce. It’s time for drivers to take back control and build collective power. The first step is to demand access to their own data at work.”
The plaintiffs says that they will ask the court to make an order that make Ola immediately comply with EU data protection law and fine the company for €2,000 for each day if it does not do so.