Uber drivers will log off the app and stage protests in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow ahead of the minicab firm's stock market flotation the following day. The drivers, who are part of the United Private Hire Drivers Branch (UPHD) of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), will observe a 9 hour boycott of the app between 7am and 4pm.
Uber drivers will be on strike and leading demonstrations across the world on 8 May in the lead up to Uber's Initial Public Offering (IPO).
UPHD calls on the public to not cross the digital picket line by using the app to book Uber services during these times. Drivers are protesting against the IPO which will lead to large payouts for executives and venture capitalist investors, despite failures to resolve pay issues for drivers. With an expected valuation of $100 billion, Uber's founder, venture capitalists and management will become fabulously wealthy overnight. Uber's founder stands to personally gain $9 billion. However, Uber's business model is unsustainable in its dependence upon large scale worker exploitation, tax avoidance and regulatory arbitrage. Since 2016, successive judgements from the Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal have all said Uber drivers are entitled to basic worker rights, such as the minimum wage and holiday pay. Uber's own prospectus recently filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission admits:
Uber believes the prospect of having to respect worker rights and pay VAT as a result of UPHD worker rights legal challenge to be a material risk to its business model
Driver pay and job satisfaction will fall as Uber seeks to cut costs to become profitable
Analysis by UPHD shows that Uber drivers currently earn on average £5 per hour and work as much as 30 hours per week before breaking even.
The drivers are demanding:
Fares be increased to £2 per mile
Commissions paid by drivers to Uber be reduced from 25% to 15%
An end to unfair dismissals
Uber to respect the rulings the 2016 ruling of the Employment Tribunal confirming 'worker' status for drivers
James Farrar, Chair of the United Private Hire Drivers branch of the IWGB union said: "Uber's flotation is shaping up to be an unprecedented international orgy of greed as investors cash in on one of the most abusive business models ever to emerge from Silicon Valley. It is the drivers who have created this extraordinary wealth but they continue to be denied even the most basic workplace rights. We call on the public not to cross the digital picket line on 8 May but to stand in solidarity with impoverished drivers across the world who have made Uber so successful." The protests will take place at 1pm, May 8th at the following locations - London - Uber UK Head Office, 1 Aldgate Tower, 2 Leman St, London E1 8FA Birmingham - 100 Broad St, Birmingham B15 1AE (TBC) Nottingham - King Edward Court Unit C, Nottingham NG1 1EL Glasgow - 69 Buchanan St, Glasgow G1 3HL (TBC)