Australian action similar to London Cabbie Group Action
Regional taxi and hire car drivers, operators and licence owners from Western Australia gathered in Mandurah earlier this month, as part of a series of public meetings taking place across the country for those looking to start a class action against Uber for harm caused by their unlawful operations.
Hundreds of registrants from Western Australia have already signed up to the national class action, with more joining each day. They are some of the more than 5,500 that have joined nationwide according to latest figures from Daily Mail.
The legal action is similar to that attracting interest from thousands of taxi drivers in London which is also being funded by litigation funders Harbour.
In Australia class action experts Maurice Blackburn Lawyers who will run the case, are meeting with interested groups across the country this month to answer their questions, as the case builds before being filed soon in the Victorian Supreme Court.
Senior Associate Lawyer on the case Elizabeth O’Shea says the claim will look to represent all taxi and charter vehicle car operators, licence owners and drivers that have had their livelihoods impacted by Uber’s illegal entry to the market in Australia.
“Uber came in and exploited people by operating outside of regulations, Uber’s conduct led to devastating losses suffered by our group members – who diligently complied with the relevant laws. For those reasons, it is the multi-billion dollar company Uber and its associated entities that should provide redress to those affected,” Ms O’Shea said.
“We know from talking to drivers and licence plate holders in Western Australia that Uber’s activities have had a devastating impact on their businesses and their livelihoods. We are hearing it on the ground at public meetings, we are hearing it on the phones when we talk to people, and we know it has been particularly tough for regional operators in Western Australia.
“We have a proud history of running the nation’s largest and toughest class actions and we believe that this is the best mechanism to pursue some meaningful form of justice and compensation for those who have had their lives turned upside down by Uber’s alleged illegal operation in Western Australia.”
Julie Murray from WA Country Taxi Operators Association said regional drivers have been hit hard.
“We represent dozens of drivers and just in our small community the impact on business and our licence values would mean we have lost upwards of $3 million. If our drivers can’t stay on the roads, that will hurt those who depend on us for transport around regional areas,” Ms Murray said.
The Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. is also supportive of all moves to help the taxi and hire car industry out of its current predicament according to President Donna Cocking.
“We understand the plight of our hard working taxi and hire car operators and we will continue to support them and any avenues that can assist them overcome the impact of Uber’s entry into the market,” Ms Cocking said.
Ms O’Shea said there would be no out of pocket costs or liability risk for those joining the class
action, with the case costs being underwritten by a third party litigation funder. Taxi and hire car drivers, operators and licence owners that wish to join the action can register their interest for the action using a simple online portal.