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Uber & GMB Union commit to end exploitation of over 200,000 ride-hailing app drivers in the UK

Image credit : GMB

GMB Union and Uber have announced that they are committed to ending the exploitation of more than 200,000 drivers who use ride hailing apps.

A meeting between Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, and Uber’s Jamie Heywood, following the ground-breaking trade union recognition deal, took place to discuss plans moving forward to tackle exploitation within the gig economy.

Under the deal – struck in May - Uber will formally recognise GMB, which will now be able to represent up to 70,000 Uber drivers across the UK.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court determined Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

But with more than 300,000 drivers working in the ride-hailing and the PHV industry, an estimated 230,000 are still not receiving their legal rights from other private hire operators. The GMB have pointed the finger at companies like “Bolt and Addison Lee”.

GMB and Uber today pledged to end this exploitation.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “The ground-breaking deal between GMB and Uber was the first step towards a fairer working life for millions of people.

“It showed that when companies and trade unions work together, standards can be raised across these industries.

“Earlier this year the Supreme Court set a precedent for all ride hailing apps to provide drivers with worker rights such as holiday pay and a pension.

“Uber has done this for its 70,000 drivers, but there are more than 200,000 more working for other operators still denied these basic legal rights.

“GMB and Uber today take the next step in our commitment to ending the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of ride-hailing app drivers.”

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber said: “The historic agreement with GMB ensured that Uber was the first in the industry to ensure all of its drivers have full union representation, as well as a pension and holiday pay.

“We may not seem like obvious allies, but together we made history by striking a recognition agreement to improve workers’ protections and, crucially, give drivers a stronger say in how Uber operates.

“We hope that working constructively with GMB will show the rest of the industry what can be achieved, ensuring that all drivers, no matter who they work with, receive the rights and protections they are entitled to.”

Liam Griffin, CEO, Addison Lee, has responded to the announcement: “Drivers are at the heart of Addison Lee’s business and we absolutely refute that they are being exploited. We have always acknowledged their contribution by paying the best rates and providing the best working practices in the industry.

“We guarantee the drivers that work with us get the London Living Wage level of earnings, as opposed to only the National Minimum Wage paid by Uber. Drivers working with Addison Lee also get access to a pension and holiday pay.

“The decline in driver earnings and overall wellbeing across the industry is a product of Uber’s operating practices and predatory pricing model, which has led to a race to the bottom and threatened driver livelihoods.”


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