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UBER LONDON LICENCE: Renewal a ‘tragically missed opportunity’ to address workers' rights says Union

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

A private hire drivers' union called the relicensing of ride-hailing giants Uber a ‘TRAGICALLY MISSED OPPORTUNITY’ for the Mayor of London to address final workers' rights disputes.

Last week in an open letter to the Mayor of London, the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) demanded that Transport for London (TfL) set tough worker rights conditions on Uber's application for a new operator’s licence which was set to expire on 27 March.

The ride-share firm, who have faced a number of legal challenges over its business model, have now been granted a renewed operator's licence in the capital after a decision made late on Friday 25 March.

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, said: “TfL rightly holds our industry to the highest regulatory and safety standards and we are pleased to have met their high bar.

“As we continue to play our part in getting London moving again post-pandemic, we remain focused on raising industry standards in all areas. This includes offering drivers the benefits and protections they deserve as workers, ensuring all Londoners can get around safely, and supporting the Mayor’s plan for a greener future in the capital with our target to become a fully electric platform in the city by 2025.”

However the Union say the ride-hailing operator has still failed to abide by the Supreme Court ruling dating back to February 2021 to pay drivers at least minimum wage and holiday pay from the period of log on to log off. Instead, Uber pays only for the period of dispatch to drop off which effectively means that drivers are paid nothing for about 50% of their working time at Uber. A new 5 day hearing at the Employment Tribunal in June this year is scheduled to decide working time for Uber drivers.

Yaseen Aslam, President of ADCU and lead claimant, Aslam v Uber, said: "This is yet another tragically missed opportunity for Sadiq Khan to make worker rights a condition of license for Uber and to finally bring an end to the abuse of 100,000 gig workers licensed by Transport for London.

“Uber has failed to abide by the Supreme Court ruling from last year and continues to cheat drivers out of pay for waiting time which is about 50% of working time. The Mayor should look to New York for leadership inspiration where Uber must guarantee minimum wage for all working time, including waiting time, as a condition of license there.

“My fear is that the Mayor's decision will now inevitably lead to congestion, more pollution and more poverty."


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