Uber drivers strike: fares could rise due to union action

The App Drivers & Couriers Union has asked Londoners not to take trips today - and warned that the strike could mean fares rise.

Uber drivers in London are staging a 24-hour strike today (Tuesday September 28) over issues including pay and unfair dismissals.

Members of the App Drivers & Couriers Union (ADCU) are demonstrating outside Uber headquarters in the capital and are urging people not to use the service during the walkout.

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The union’s vans have appeared outside London King’s Cross, and other stations, demanding that Uber drivers strike and do not break the picket line.

The ADCU expects Uber fares to be higher due to the strike, which comes at the same time as petrol shortages have affected drivers.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed the industrial action, while he was at the party conference in Brighton.

Why has the ADCU called the Uber strike?

The union has called for strike action over Uber’s failure to implement the Supreme Court ruling to pay waiting time, which it says makes up around 40% of an Uber driver’s working time.

It is also disputing the introduction of fixed-price fare,s which union bosses claim has led to reduced driver incomes and greater financial risk.

The union is demanding for Uber to pay all working time including waiting time and respect the Supreme Court ruling and an end to up front pricing.

It is also asking for an increase of fares from £1.25 per mile to £2 per mile and for Uber to reduce its commission take from 25% to 15%.

The ADCU is also demanding an end to unfair dismissals without right of appeal.

Uber has since announced that the company would now pay pension contributions for drivers.

What have the union bosses said?

Yaseen Aslam, ADCU President said: “It is shameful that Uber continues to defy the highest court in the land to cheat 70,000 workers out of pay for 40% of their true working time.

“The drivers know they deserve and are legally entitled to much more than Uber is offering.

“Uber’s offer to set up a cross app common pension scheme just proves that it must also be possible for these companies to apportion and pay driver waiting time between them.

“This strike is just the beginning and there will be much more unrest until Uber does the right thing and pay drivers all that they are owed, both pension contributions and working time.”

General secretary James Farrar added: “Uber has continued to intensify its use of junk surveillance tech and algorithmic management control to maximise profits.

“The results have been catastrophic, with hundreds of people unfairly dismissed and accused of unspecified ‘fraudulent activity’.

“Instead of trying to gag unions from exposing the flaws in their tech, Uber should instead guarantee all drivers protection from unfair dismissal and the right to access a proper, human-led appeals process.”

Ash Kebriti, UK General Manager of Uber, said: “There is nothing more important than the safety of our drivers and the riders who use the Uber app. As cities continue to open up, we will ensure that face coverings or masks continue to be a mandatory requirement, unless exempt, when travelling with Uber across the UK.”

Why are Uber fares higher during the strike?

As fewer cars are available, it is highly likely that fares for Uber rides will be higher today.

If you try and order an Uber you may see the line: “Fares are a lot higher due to increased demand.”

It may also take you longer to book an Uber ride, as there are fewer cars available.

The ADCU has said it thinks the strike will increase fares.

What has Uber said?

The ride-hailing app has announced that the company will now pay pension contributions for drivers.

An Uber spokesperson said: “Following the historic trade union recognition deal with GMB, drivers have an even stronger voice within Uber.

“We are working together with our trade union partner to raise standards for drivers through greater transparency and engagement.

“GMB represents drivers in areas such as earnings, deactivations and the implementation of new worker benefits, such as holiday pay and pensions.”

Uber formally recognised the GMB earlier this year, saying the union could represent up to 70,000 Uber drivers across the UK.

It announced in March that 70,000 drivers will be treated as workers, earning at least the National Living Wage, with paid-for holiday time. Those eligible will be automatically enrolled into a pension plan.