Private hire drivers are accepting fewer rides offered by ride-hailing firm Uber, because it makes no financial sense for drivers to work them, says union representatives.
The global ride-hailing operator claims mass departures from the industry have resulted in a driver shortage on the Uber platform. However, drivers from the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of the IWGB highlight the decline in pay per mile as the real reason for increased waiting times and the shortage of rides available.
Representatives said the impact of this has been made worse by recent fuel spikes and a host of other issues relating to unfair pay. The UPHD say drivers are not paid for the drive to pick up customers and can be offered trips 20 miles from their location.
Fixed-rate fares which are calculated on the basis of the shortest distance from pickup to drop off are also impacting drivers according to the Union. The fixed-rates introduced in late 2020 are said to not account for diversions, unexpected route changes, or traffic congestion which all come at the driver’s expense.
Increasingly Uber has turned to ‘surge’ pricing to deal with the increase in drivers rejecting rides, targeting local areas with higher demand, and enticing drivers to travel to these areas to get the higher fares.
Nader Awaad, Chair of the UPHD (IWGB), said: “There is not a driver shortage. There is a pay shortage. We are ready to work but Uber is making it impossible for us because the pay has become so low. After costs and the drive to pick-up customers, we do not have enough money to live. We should not be forced to volunteer for a multi-billion dollar company.
“These pay cuts mean that our right to pensions and holiday pay confirmed by the Supreme Court is coming out of our pockets instead of Uber’s.
“Surge pricing is not the answer. We want all rides to be valued fairly so that we have enough money to pay our costs and live. Until app operators deal with the root of the problem and pay us fairly, customers are going to be left waiting in the rain.”
Alex Marshall, President of the IWGB, said: “This is yet another bogus excuse made up by Uber. The reason Uber is struggling to meet the demand of their customers is because the fares have fallen so low that it does not make financial sense for drivers to work for them. Uber needs to stop their endless pursuit of short-term profits and invest in a sustainable business model by paying their drivers wages they can actually support themselves on. Otherwise, at this rate, Uber will be left with no drivers.”