Rideshare drivers in Britain have plans to sign off the Uber app and spend their time protesting in four major metro areas. London, Nottingham, Glasgow, and Birmingham are set to be flooded by irate drivers. The message, coordinated around Uber’s plans to go public, is a clear rebuke of the company’s Initial Public Offering plan, which will make many employees wealthy overnight, but leave drivers in the same deteriorating conditions.
The drivers, organised by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), have plans to log off the Uber app en masse for 9 hours on 8th May. Their American counterparts in seven cities will similarly hold a 12-hour strike on the same day, including Rideshare Drivers United in LA and Chicago Rideshare Advocates.
UK drivers’ demands are no great surprise, as arguably the features that have made rideshare platforms so valuable for investors are the same bugs that have made them so unsustainable for workers. Specifically, UK drivers are seeking to have their pay increased, have less of their ride fees stolen as a commission by the platform, and to have the company respect a three-year-old UK ruling that found rideshare drivers to be employees, not contractors.
Despite a disappointing IPO showing from its main competitor, Lyft, Uber still seeks to go public at a valuation of around $90 billion (£68 billion), something James Farrar of the IWGB colourfully called “an unprecedented international orgy of greed” for a company sporting “one of the most abusive business models ever to emerge from Silicon Valley.”
Previous IWGB strikes have drawn hundreds of drivers, and as in prior actions, the union is requesting riders opt not to cross the digital picket line on the 8th by choosing alternative methods of transportation.
We’ve reached out to Uber for comment and will update if they provide a statement. [Telegraph]
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