Britain’s App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) held a 24-hour strike on Wednesday to demand that Uber be held accountable for the findings of the Uber files, a trove of thousands of leaked confidential documents showing how the ride-hail company broke laws, secretly lobbied governments and exploited driver safety to aggressively expand from 2013 to 2017.
The ADCU asked drivers not to open the app on Wednesday and asked passengers not to use the service. The union also held a public demonstration at Uber UK’s headquarters in Aldgate Towers in London between 12 noon and 2 pm on Wednesday. The ADCU said there was “good compliance” with the picket line.
The union demands that Uber immediately comply with UK Supreme Court ruling on workers’ rights, handed down last year Uber drivers reclassified as employees. The judges ruled that when offering car rides, Uber must enter into a direct contract with passengers to assume a greater share of responsibility for each ride.
Further, the ADCU is demanding that Uber reimburse its drivers as a result of the court’s ruling; end “unethical political influence in the UK” and fire board member Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, a “convicted criminal in Francewhose behavior endangering drivers and passengers was exposed in the Uber files,” a union statement said.
“Uber is desperate to brush off Uber file disclosures as sins of the distant past, but management’s behavior is now as blatant as it ever was,” Yaseen Aslam, president of ADCU, said in a statement. “Uber continues to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling to deny drivers their full entitlement to minimum wage and holiday pay for all hours of work. By reaching a partial settlement in the wake of the landmark ruling, Uber took advantage of vulnerable drivers, already impoverished by the pandemic, to pressure them to settle for far less than what was actually owed and to pay their legal fees. relinquish rights.”
Uber has made some changes to the way it treats drivers in the UK following the Supreme Court ruling. In a regulatory submissionUber said drivers would receive vacation pay, be automatically enrolled in a retirement plan, and earn at least the minimum wage as a wage cap.
However, ADCU says these steps do not comply with Supreme Court and lower court rulings to pay drivers at least minimum wage after charges for all work time from login to logout. Instead, Uber only counts the hours and minutes between shipment and delivery, excluding the waiting time, which, according to the union, leaves drivers short of about 40% of their actual working time.
In addition to ensuring drivers are paid during downtime, the union is demanding that Uber raise fares to £2.50 per mile and 20p per minute and limit Uber’s commission to 15%, instead of the current 25%.
The Uber files also exposed the ride-hail giant’s political clout. For example, when French President Emmanuel Macron was economy minister, he was first-named with ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and appears to have helped change policy in favor of Uber.
The ADCU said it was concerned about Uber’s targeting of Labor MPs such as Rachel Reeves and Yvette Cooper. The union claims that Uber executives attended Labor Party conference events last year, and Uber recently hired Princess Bright, a Labor councilor. Aside from demanding that Uber end all “corrupt political influence”, the union is also asking that politicians commit to not having any contact with Uber until the company can demonstrate that it is doing its best.
The Uber files also show that Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, who is now in charge of Uber Eats, is exchanging text messages with other executives about Uber’s “kill switch.” The kill switch was usually turned on when the police knocked and allowed Uber to restrict agents’ access to sensitive company data. This was part of Gore-Coty’s reported “combat enforcement playbook”.
The union argues that by hiring a senior executive who was involved in activities designed to thwart regulatory oversight in the UK or other jurisdiction, Uber is violating a 2018 licensing requirement.
Among these demands, James Farrar, ADCU general secretary and former Uber driver, also called the whistleblowerformer Uber lobbyist Mark McCann, to give direct testimony about what was happening inside the company.
Uber claims it has ensured drivers earn a living wage after expenses, as well as vacation pay, which is paid weekly in cash, and pension contributions. This has been going on since May 2021 and since then, eligible drivers have had more than £100m in pension contributions and £185.5m in holiday pay from Uber, a company spokesperson said.
“With demand rising after the pandemic, Uber drivers are earning more than ever – in the first quarter of 2022, they were earning an average of £29.72 per hour, including holiday pay, when actively involved with the app,” an Uber employee told me. spokesperson to londonbusinessblog.com. “The combination of increased earnings, new protections such as holiday pay and a pension and union recognition in the UK has resulted in more than 10,000 new drivers signing up with Uber in recent months.”
The strike lasted from midnight to midnight. It is not clear how many drivers and passengers participated.