Another day, another problem for the ride sharing service. This time, more than 100 of its drivers are looking to take legal action over their rights, according to the lawyers representing them.
The legal action is looking to make them workers, rather than partners or self employed customers, which is how the American international transportation network company sees them. The first four cases were submitted last week.
Uber drivers pay a fee to use the technology that connects them to customers. When a ride comes up, the nearest driver is offered the chance to complete it, if they decide not to, it goes to the next driver. For this, the ride sharing service takes a fee of 20 percent. The percentage will soon rise to 25 for new drivers.
The lawyer representing the drivers, said Uber was not following the employment law. He said that what they are trying to do is for them to get workers rights, the rights that anyone who works has to have. He added that this gives them things like minimum wage and paid holidays.
He also said that the ways in which the company controlled its drivers, including the training and things they have to know before working for them, meant that they were not just self employed.
Risk To Health and Safety
The lawyer wasn’t done there, he said there were serious health and safety issues as the company did not make sure that its drivers take short breaks or work a maximum number of hours per week. He added that many of the drivers work 50, 60 and even 70 hours per week and believes it’s true that there is a risk to health and safety if drivers keep working this long.
James Farrar, who has worked with Uber since late last year, shared how it’s like working for the company. He says he joined because he was working on a start-up and needed the flexibility to work when he wanted. He says the flexibility with Uber is great but the only problem is that when you’re not working, you’re not earning and the earnings are much lower than he expected. He added that it is more difficult to make money than six months ago and the time needed to make the earnings he wanted just got longer and longer. He says his average pay is £5.03 ($7.61) an hour, well below the minimum wage.
Cases and Uber
Farrar says that if he was looking to go somewhere, he wouldn’t like being picked up by a driver who has worked 18 hours a day. He says he could try to get a job with another ride sharing/taxi company but the options are limited.
Nothing has been said about the cases submitted to the London Central Employment Tribunal but the law firm representing the drivers plans to ask them to hear all of them.
Uber currently operates in many cities around the world. In the UK, its service is available in 10 cities and the company had 7,000 drivers last year, a number that has rapidly increased to 20,000 in 2015.