London, Jul 21, 2022, IANS
London, July 21 (IANS) In the wake of the shocking Uber Files revelations, the UK's App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) staged a 24-hour strike till Wednesday midnight, demanding that the ride-hailing platform be held accountable for breaking laws, secretly lobbying governments and exploiting driver safety to expand aggressively from 2013 to 2017.
The union on Wednesday asked passengers not to cross the Uber driver picket line and not use the service, along with asking drivers not to open the app.
The union, alleging that Uber fundamentally changed in 2017 after Dara Khosrowshahi became CEO, also held a public demonstration at Uber UK's head office at Aldgate Towers in London.
The ADCU said that Uber must immediately obey the Supreme Court ruling on worker rights in full and "stop cheating drivers and pay all drivers all back pay owed as a result of the court ruling".
"Uber must end unethical political influencing in the UK, respect our democracy and the integrity of our regulatory bodies and dismiss Uber Executive Board member Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, a convicted criminal in France, whose conduct which endangered drivers & passengers was exposed in the Uber Files," the union demanded.
Yaseen Aslam, ADCU president, said in a statement that "Uber is desperate to whitewash the Uber files revelations as sins of the distant past, but management behaviour is as egregious now as ever it was".
"Uber continues to defy the Supreme Court ruling to deny drivers their full rights to minimum wage and holiday pay for all working time. In making 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 really owed and to surrender their statutory rights," Aslam emphasised.
Uber made some tweaks in the UK after the Supreme Court ruling, like paid holiday time for drivers, pension plan and minimum wages.
However, the ADCU said that Uber has failed to comply with the Supreme Court and lower court rulings to pay drivers at least the minimum wage after costs for all working time from log on to log off.
"Instead, Uber has chosen to observe worker status for the working time periods only from dispatch to drop off but excludes waiting time which leaves drivers short-changed for about 40 per cent of their true working time," said the union.
Uber also took unfair advantage of many drivers to reach a voluntary financial settlement for back pay and holiday pay owed with the signing of "COT3" agreements, alleged ADCU.
However, other drivers who have since settled through large solicitor firms handling group actions have been receiving settlements that "we estimate are as much as 66 per cent more even after legal fees have been deducted".
The ADCU is demanding Uber simply pay all drivers all that they are owed without exception or excuse and in addition, Uber should bear all legal costs.
Uber Files have revealed how Uber has had undue political influence abroad, but the same problem continues in the UK with rampant political lobbying and influencing.
"Given the government's failure to actively enforce employment law against Uber or to bring forward long promised employment legislation, the ADCU is greatly concerned that Uber's access to power and intense lobbying has been a decisive factor in favour of Uber and against Uber drivers," the union noted.
The ADCU demanded that Uber end all corrupt political influencing and that elected and local politicians commit to zero influence contact with Uber until the company demonstrates full compliance with employment, transport and taxation laws.
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