New York leads while Mayor of London dithers says minicab union

New York City Council takes decisive action to control Uber's growth and protect driver worker rights while the Mayor of London continues to dither says private hire union IWGB.

The historic legislation in New York brings a halt to private hire licensing and ensure drivers at firms like Uber earn a living wage.

Legislators estimate that private hire vehicles are occupied only 40% of on the road time in New York City leading to runaway congestion and below minimum wage earnings. On the back of this brave and decisive regulatory action in New York, the IWGB has written to the Mayor of London to demand he swiftly takes similar action in London.

According to the minicab union Sadiq Khan missed a golden opportunity to impose conditions on Uber's provisional licence renewal to mandate worker rights protections but highlight that he can still take action now.

The IWGB also state their disappointment with the Mayor's most recent proposal to make below minimum wage minicab drivers pay the congestion charge which will reduce driver take home pay by £250 per month and result in an 11 extra hours on the road each week to cover these new TfL charges. Operators like Addison Lee have already said they and other operators will simply pass the charge to the driver rather than the consumer or absorb the cost themselves.

The union also objects to TfL's continued refusal to recognise the right of dedicated trade union representation to 114,000 mostly BAME minicab drivers in TfL's stakeholder programme.

Last month the IWGB launched a public campaign demanding the Mayor take action on four key objectives:

  • to protect the worker rights of London's minicab drivers

  • to reduce and shift the unfair cost and regulatory burden, including the congestion charge, from private hire drivers to operators and consumers

  • to grant minicab drivers immediate dedicated trade union recognition at TfL

  • to protect private hire drivers from unacceptably high levels of assault and abuse at work

James Farrar, Chair of the IWGB United Private Hire Drivers branch said: “It's time for the Mayor of London to follow New York City's lead and take meaningful action to end the sweatshop conditions long endured by London's minicab drivers. The Mayor needs to find a way to immediately suspend runaway private hire licensing and he must tell firms like Uber and Addison Lee to obey UK employment law if they want to keep operating in London.”

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