By Adam Carey | Sydney Morning Herald

The Fair Work Ombudsman has launched an investigation into Uber and whether its contracts with tens of thousands of Australian drivers are in breach of federal workplace laws.
The employment watchdog undertook to probe the US-based company’s contractual relationship with its large workforce of “driver-partners” earlier this month, after a request by a group of disgruntled drivers who argue they have been “misclassified” by Uber as self-employed.

The Ombudsman is now preparing to interview drivers who use Uber’s wildly popular, low-cost UberX platform, which has upended the taxi industry’s established business model in Melbourne and around the world.
A spokesman for the Fair Work Ombudsman said it had “commenced an investigation into Uber, with the purpose of determining whether the engagement of Uber drivers is compliant with Commonwealth workplace laws”.

Uber drivers have argued their work agreement with the company is not like that of a self-employed contractor, because Uber controls every aspect of the job other than the number of hours a driver chooses to work.

Members of the group that made the request, Ride Share Drivers United, remain anonymous, and its spokesman “Max B.” claimed this was for fear that Uber will cut off any outspoken member’s access to the ride-hailing app.

Uber’s ability to block a driver’s access to the app and deny income opportunities, without a right of reply, is one of the key complaints the group has asked the Ombudsman to probe.

READ MORE: http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/fair-work-ombudsman-investigates-uber-over-potential-breach-of-labour-laws-20170628-gx0a82