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French Uber drivers to earn more than $8 per ride after union deal

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the company logo for Uber Technologies Inc. on the day of it's IPO at the NYSE in New York

By Mathieu Rosemain

PARIS (Reuters) - France's Uber drivers are poised to earn a minimum of 7.65 euros net ($8.25) per ride after a sector-wide deal with unions, setting up a precedent after months of bargaining talks with taxi apps, Uber said on Wednesday.

The accord hikes the minimum price per ride by 27%, bringing it to a 10.20 euros gross, or 7.65 euros net, Uber said in a statement.

The agreement was reached with French unions CFTC and UNSA and professional associations AVF and FNAE. It will apply to all taxi apps in France, the organisations said in a separate statement.

The taxi apps active in France also include Estonia's Bolt and FreeNow, formed from a joint venture between Germany's BMW and Mercedes-Benz Group.

"It's the first agreement of this kind in France" said Yassine Bensaci, a representative of AVF who's been working as a taxi app driver since 2014, adding that the formal agreement would be formally signed at mid-day on Wednesday and applicable from the start of February.

"It's just the first step, as talks are going on other matters," he said, citing an agreement with the same organisations to have regular meetings with drivers' representatives.

A specific compensation for independent drivers' delegates will be guaranteed so that they can participate in such meetings, Uber said.

The talks, instigated by the French government, come after years of conflict between traditional taxi drivers and taxi apps as well court rulings that have challenged the wider gig economy. Mainly composed of taxi and food delivery apps, these activities rely heavily on self-employed people to conduct their business without having to meet a range of employee costs and benefits.

Before being elected president, Emmanuel Macron had championed such apps, including U.S.-based Uber, as a model for creating jobs, particularly in the "banlieues" - deprived suburban housing estates where unemployment is high.

($1 = 0.9273 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Leslie Adler)