People are standing up to a corporate giant, and it could be a game-changer for workers’ rights

Masses of workers
Support us and go ad-free

App-based taxi company Uber has been unapologetic over its business model, despite coming under repeated attack. And its business model’s impact on workers’ rights has even landed it in court.

Now a union is trying to stop the $69 billion company from renewing its license to operate in London – unless Uber guarantees basic employment rights to its workers. GMB wants Transport for London (TfL) to make workers’ rights a condition of renewing the license when it expires on 31 May. And if it succeeds, it could change the entire face of the gig economy.

Time is ticking

SumOfUs, which lobbies against corporate abuse and for fair labour standards, says on its campaign page:

London is one of Uber’s only success stories in Europe. And its current license to operate there expires on May 31. So GMB, the union for Uber drivers, has called on Transport for London not to renew the license unless Uber guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights.

Last year GMB union won a landmark employment tribunal case for drivers against Uber. The court ruled that Uber drivers were not self-employed contractors but employed workers with rights to the national minimum wage, sickness and holiday pay. It called one of Uber’s arguments “ridiculous”. The judgment has major implications for over 30,000 drivers in England and Wales. But Uber is appealing the case and has not changed its terms and conditions.

That’s why GMB, SumOfUs and minicab drivers are urging TfL to make workers’ rights a condition of renewal:

Transport for London has a right and responsibility to put the brakes on Uber’s recklessness and could send an important signal to other ‘gig economy’ corporations and city authorities around the world.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Notorious

Uber has been criticised all over the world. And currently there is a class action suit in New York against the firm, arguing that Uber charges customers more than it should. It also faced a social media backlash after protests at New York’s JFK airport against Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’. Uber didn’t participate in a work stoppage called by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. And it lifted “surge pricing” around the airport, resulting in longer wait times. With Uber’s CEO sitting on Trump’s business advisory council at the time, people thought the move was opportunistic.

Change the game

Campaigners are now urging people to pile make their voices heard in London. But Uber insists drivers are self-employed:

The vast majority of drivers who use Uber tell us they want to remain their own boss as that’s the main reason why they signed up to us in the first place.

A TfL spokesperson has previously said that it does not comment on the status of individual licence applications.

GMB will seek a judicial review if TfL renews the licence. But with 31 May around the corner, this really could be a rare opportunity. As well as speaking up for Uber drivers, it could send a signal to other parts of the gig economy – and change the game for masses of workers, helping to strengthen their rights.

Get Involved!

– Sign the SumOfUs petition and urge TfL and the Mayor of London to make minimum safety standards and workers’ rights a condition of renewing Uber’s licence.

Featured image via Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed