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Medway councillors DISMAYED at ‘Uber Files’, but feel licence rejection stance has been vindicated

The Medway Labour and Co-operative Group have expressed their dismay at the ‘Uber Files’ scandal engulfing the private hire and political arena, which exposed unethical business practices including Greyballing, kill switches, and questionable lobbying methods.

The comments come after more than 124,000 confidential Uber documents were leaked to the Guardian and other news outlets including BBC Panorama, which have demonstrated the full extent of Uber’s global lobbying powers and more locally its efforts to twist regulation in London.

The documents confirmed many of the things noted in the taxi trade about its aggressive tactics, since it first entered the market over a decade ago.

The leaked files show how the company exerted influence over UK government ministers and advisers, including George Osborne, Sajid Javid and Matt Hancock, in off the book meetings, and hired close personal friends like Rachel Whetstone and Lynton Crosby to help them gain access to the top levels of the Cameron Government, ultimately preventing the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, from clamping down on Uber and its damaging operating model.

Cllr Dan McDonald, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Spokesperson For Licensing, said: “This week’s revelations about the unethical practices of Uber unfortunately do not come as a surprise. By using a motion at Full Council in 2019 and other various mechanisms, our Group has consistently highlighted the importance of protecting our honest local taxi industry from a company whose practices quite frankly are an affront to the values of decency and fairness. We’re sure this week’s news will only strengthen the resolve of our community to support our local taxi drivers.”

Cllr Harinder Mahil, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Spokesperson For Employment Matters, said: “Firms like Uber hide behind technology, often not well understood by legislators, and use it to disguise sharp business practices and shambolic working conditions.

“As a Council we took the right decision in 2019 to commit ourselves to fair and equal operating conditions for all operators, and not just bend them for a slick PR operation and a fancy app.

“Unfortunately, this news comes as no surprise for those who have been calling for action for several years now.”

In 2019 Medway Council passed a motion to challenge Uber's legality to operate in the area.

Hundreds of taxi drivers watched during a public meeting held at St George's Centre, Chatham. The motion, which was suggested by councillor Dan McDonald, was agreed by both sides of the chamber following a council-funded legal investigation into whether the firm was legally or illegally operating within the Medway licensing area.


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