If you planned to hail an Uber taxi later, don’t bother. A 24-hour strike is planned by drivers, beginning at 1pm today (9 October).
Protests are planned outside the company’s offices across the UK – in London, Birmingham and Nottingham – and customers have been urged to not cross the “digital picket line”.
Why are Uber drivers protesting?
The United Private Hire Drivers union (UPHD) is organising to protest fare increases in London, which have gone up from £1.25 per mile to £2. They’re also unhappy about a 10 percent reduction in commissions and alleged unfair dismissal of drivers.
Drivers argue Uber is no longer a viable source of income, with 12 hours of work needed each day, they say, to make a living wage. There were reports last year that around a third of Uber’s 50,000+ drivers were putting in more than 40 hours a week.
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Nevertheless, Uber insists its drivers are getting a good deal under the current system. It cites a study that suggests drivers in London make £11 an hour on average, after expenses and Uber’s commission.
London mayor Sadiq Khan recently announced he was keen to limit the number of Uber drivers operating in the city. The intention is to reduce congestion and ease driver competition. At present, however, he lacks the powers to enforce any such measures.
In August, New York City signed a one-year freeze on new licenses for drivers working with car-hailing services. It also set a minimum wage. New York is Uber’s largest American market.
What about Uber alternatives? In the UK, Gett and Addison Lee are probably your best bets.
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