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Uber and Bolt drivers form East London support group to tackle ride-hailing challenges

Uber and Bolt drivers in Leyton have initiated the first in-person support group for workers in their sector. This group aims to address shared challenges, offer expert help from caseworkers, and strategise on improving pay and conditions.

The monthly 2-hour private hire vehicle (PHV) driver drop-in will occur on the fourth Tuesday of each month from 6.30pm at Lea Cafe, Lea Bridge Road.

Frustrated by the lack of support from ride-hailing companies, drivers from the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) have created this space. Here, attendees can receive free professional guidance in English and Somali on issues such as licence renewals and wrongful account terminations.

According to the union, gig economy platforms’ reliance on AI software to manage their workforces are meaning an increase in the wrongful termination of drivers’ accounts. This leaves drivers unable to work without any hearing or appeals process. Other issues discussed include the need for improved safety measures and the decline in drivers' earnings per trip, which forces them to spend more time on the roads.

The organisers hope these sessions in Leyton will inspire drivers across London and the UK to start their own support groups, aiming to build a community among a workforce that often feels isolated when issues arise.

Abdulle Abdi Karim, a member of the IWGB union and organiser of the Leyton Drivers’ Drop-In, said: “Trying to resolve an issue as a private hire driver often feels like shouting into the void. When the only support on offer from the apps are faceless and fundamentally flawed automated systems, having somewhere drivers can come for human contact and expert, tailored advice is a lifeline.

“It’s also an invaluable opportunity to meet each other and build unity amongst the workforce. In an industry which depends on our isolation and silent acceptance to keep us working 70 hours a week for poverty wages, coming together around a coffee and voicing our issues is a vital means to resist, and fight for better.

“I invite any private hire drivers to join us at the next drop-in in Leyton on 25th June, and to contact us if you’re interested in setting up a similar support group in your area.” 


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