Uber drivers set for 24-hour strike over workers’ rights

Uber drivers

Uber drivers in London, Birmingham and Nottingham are to stage a 24-hour strike over worker’s rights from 1pm today and will hold protests outside the organisation’s offices in each of the three cities.

The industrial action has been called by the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB).

Among the drivers’ demands are an end to unfair deactivations, which the union states are de-facto dismissals, an increase in fares to £2 per mile and a 10% reduction in commissions paid by drivers to Uber.

The strikers also want the organisation to apply the Employment and Employment Appeal Tribunals’ judgments that Uber drivers should have worker status, and immediately implement employment rights such as the minimum wage and paid holidays.

The IWGB has appealed for public support and is asking Uber customers not to use the organisation’s app during the strike. Supporters have also been invited to join the protests outside the Uber offices.

IWGB could not provide an exact number of drivers expected to strike, but said the action would be substantial, with 400 responses to the Facebook event page for the protest in London.

James Farrar, chair of the IWGB’s UPHD branch, said: “After years of watching take-home pay plummet and management bullying of workers on the rise, workers have been left with no choice but to take strike action.

“We ask the public to please support drivers by not crossing the digital picket line by not using the app during strike time.”

The strike is part of efforts by IWGB to secure workers’ rights for private hire drivers, with ongoing cases against Uber, Green Tomato Cars and A2B Cars. The union’s Farrar and Yaseen Aslam will face Uber as co-claimants at the Court of Appeal in the employment rights case against the organisation on 30 and 31 October.

An Uber spokesperson said: “We are always looking to make improvements to ensure drivers have the best possible experience and can make the most of their time driving on the app. That’s why over the last few months we’ve introduced dozens of new features, including sickness, injury, maternity and paternity protections.

“An academic study last month found that drivers in London make an average of £11 an hour, after accounting for all of their costs and Uber’s service fee. We continue to look at ways to help drivers increase their earnings and our door is always open if anyone wants to speak to us about any issues they’re having.”