The App Drivers and Couriers Union has taken legal action against taxi hail app Uber because pensions for drivers are not Sharia compliant.
The ADCU said it had written to Uber to demand it reviews its pensions provisions for Muslim drivers, which it introduced in September last year.
Sharia compliance requires that pension funds are not invested in companies whose actions contravene the tenets of Islam. This could include the production or sale of armaments, gambling, pork products or certain financial services.
ADCU estimates that up to 75% of Uber drivers in the UK are Muslims, and therefore not offering a Sharia-compliant pension could mean many drivers are forced out of participating because this would be against their faith.
The union suggested that not offering a Sharia-compliant scheme could be in violation of the Pension Act 1998, which provides a statutory right for workers not to be subject to any detriment in the pension arrangements, and against provisions in the Equality Act 2010.
Yaseen Aslam, ADCU president and the lead claimant in landmark gig economy claim Aslam v Uber, said while Uber’s decision to offer pensions had been welcome, not making the scheme Sharia compliant could make it “inaccessible for the vast majority of the workforce”.
“We’ve tried to resolve the matter quietly with Uber, but we have simply been stonewalled,” he said.
“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 matters through the courts to make sure Uber makes lawful, fair and inclusive pension arrangements.”
Uber agreed to pay drivers pension payments dating back to 2017 when it launched the scheme last year, with the company contributing 3% of earnings and drivers contributing a minimum of 5% of qualifying earnings.
The scheme is run by Now: Pensions and Adecco, and drivers can choose to opt out if they wish.
A recent survey by investment consultancy Islamic Finance Guru found that one third of UK Muslims do not have a pension due to the lack of Sharia-compliant options.
A spokesperson for Uber said: “We are extremely proud to be the only ride-hailing platform to offer drivers worker benefits including a guaranteed living wage, holiday pay, and pension plan. The vast majority of drivers participate in our current pension scheme and we are working with our pension partner, NOW Pensions, as they create a Sharia-compliant fund which will be available to drivers soon.”