There is good reason to be “unsympathetic” towards todays Uber driver protests says Unite Glasgow Cab Section.
The taxi driver group took to Facebook to vent its frustrations towards the controversial ride-hailing app and its licensing authority by calling the minicab cab service “illegally licensed in Scotland”.
The driver representatives also went on to suggest it was understandable why taxi and private hire drivers might appear unsympathetic to Uber drivers who are striking today over workers rights and low pay conditions.
A spokesperson from Unite Glasgow Cab Section said via their Facebook Page: “On the day that Uber drivers are striking across the UK due to poverty pay, it is worthwhile remembering that Uber is illegally licensed in Scotland.
“Glasgow City Council Licensing justified giving Uber a Booking Office licence for two reasons;
“(1) The 1982 Civic Government Scotland Act is dated and does not cover app based booking systems; and
“(2) There was nothing to stop Uber operating outside the legislation and it was better to have it regulated within the legislative framework.
“Let’s look at the first; reason above for granting Uber a Booking Office Licence.
“The Scottish Government started a consultation in 2014 on a new bill, which would be enacted as Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015. Glasgow City Council submitted the following comment during consultation:
“In preparing for the near future, the Authority would suggest that the Scottish Government examine the interface between the Booking Office legislation and app based booking systems. The legislation should be amended to ensure that any future booking systems are delivered in a way that public safety is protected and that both licensing and enforcement authorities have access to the information that they require to effectively regulate the trade.”
“Even though Uber was well established in the US and expanding globally, Scottish Government legislators decided to ignore Glasgow City Council’s suggestion and DID NOT amend The Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (Licensing of Booking Offices) Order 2009.
“So it stands that Uber is illegally licensed in Scotland. It has a sham Booking Office in Buchanan St that does not accept bookings, dispatch vehicles, take payment or invoice customers. All these functions are carried out by Uber BV based in Holland. This allows Uber to siphon monies from the UK untaxed and to pay negligible tax on earnings, using a common rouse called the ‘Dutch Sandwich’. As well as venture capital, Uber is able to undercut competitors because it pays negligible UK tax and does not collect VAT.
“The second justification that Uber could/would have operated outside the Booking Office legislation. It just simply would not have happened. As unethical as Uber has shown to be, it has relied on licensing to carry on its business. Some Cities have asked Uber to comply with legislation, causing Uber to withdraw its service, Copenhagen being a notable example. It stands that Glasgow City Council has adopted taxi and private hire legislation. Anyone operating in the Glasgow area unlicensed is committing a punishable offence and it becomes a Police matter.
“If the Cab Section, taxi and private hire drivers appear unsympathetic to Uber drivers strike today, it’s for good reason. There are alternatives to working for an illegally licensed Corp.”