UK trade union sues Uber over taxi-drivers’ rights
Thu 30 Jul 2015
The GMB, one of the UK’s largest trade unions, announced yesterday that it would be taking legal action against U.S. taxi-hailing app Uber on grounds of unfair pay and working conditions.
The union said that Uber should pay drivers the UK national minimum wage, offer paid holiday days as well as ensuring that they take breaks.
“Uber is in breach of a legal duty to provide them with basic rights on pay, holidays, health and safety and on discipline and grievances,” GMB claimed.
Uber currently has about 15,000 drivers registered to the app in London, and expects this number to rise to over 42,000 by next year.
An Uber spokesperson responded that its drivers enjoy their work as “they love being their own boss,” adding that “as employees, drivers would drive set shifts, earn a fixed hourly wage, and lose the ability to drive elsewhere as well as the personal flexibility they most value.”
Uber has faced a series of recent regulatory hurdles as it expands globally and taxi drivers have protested around the world citing unfair competition. In France earlier this month Uber was forced to suspend its UberPOP service, following a week of violent riots and arrests.
Uber is also coming under attack from the East this week with Chinese rival Didi Kuaidi fiercely trying to win over regional governments and commuters by convincing them that it is a friendlier domestic alternative to the U.S. ride-hailing giant.
“We don’t really believe in disruptive termination of people’s jobs,” remarked Didi Kuaidi President Jean Liu at a technology conference in Hong Kong today.
For the moment analysts believe Didi Kuaidi maintains a stronger market share in China thanks to its larger customer base and local familiarity, but Uber is gaining ground with more advanced algorithms than the Chinese company.