ADCU stage action today against Transport for London over failure to regulate Uber & Bolt on worker rights and abusive algorithms

ADCU stage action today against Transport for London over failure to regulate Uber & Bolt on worker rights and abusive algorithms

ADCU stage action today against Transport for London over failure to regulate Uber & Bolt on worker rights and abusive algorithms

·        ADCU demands the Mayor of London and TfL ban algorithmically determined fares & pay from the licensed minicab trade.

·        ADCU warns of tacit collusion amongst minicab platforms and invasive personal profiling of drivers and passengers to drive up prices and drive down pay.

·        ADCU demands TfL take licensing action against Uber and Bolt who have still not complied with the Supreme Court two years after its landmark ruling.

·        ADCU demands Uber increase fares to £2.50 per mile from £1.16 currently.

·        Action in London is coordinated with the Dutch union FNV who are taking action against Uber simultaneously in Amsterdam.

The App Drivers & Couriers Union are set to stage a demonstration today against Transport for London over their failure to adequately regulate and supervise Uber and Bolt and thereby compromising the safety of drivers and passengers.  The action will be held today at 11 am at Palestra House, 197 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ

UBER & BOLT flout the law

This month marks the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling against Uber, but despite corporate hype to the contrary from Uber and City Hall, Uber has still not complied with the ruling. Uber continues to litigate the case against their own drivers with the next hearing scheduled for this summer.

Uber still is not paying drivers for waiting time despite the courts ruling that drivers should be paid from log on to log off and not from pick up to drop off as Uber prefers. Uber also unilaterally decided to use the HMRC reimbursement rate of 45p per mile when assessing costs for the purpose of calculating minimum wage. But this rate was set by HMRC a decade ago and Uber has not adjusted the rate despite rampant inflation.

Transport for London floods the market but puts the brakes on safety

In addition, TfL has succumbed to immense corporate pressure to accelerate driver licensing whilst delaying implementation of proposals TfL said were safety critical. In this way, TfL is taking an unbalanced and unfair, cherry-picking approach to regulation by flooding the market and driving down pay to meet the insatiable demand of the platform operator on demand business model whilst delaying safety proposals that might otherwise form a barrier to entry for driver licensing. TfL has fast tracked operator licensing of drivers to add an additional 3,000 drivers in the past three months alone for an annualized rate of increase of 12% in capacity – this despite the mayor’s own policy to reduce congestion and improve air quality in London.

Transport for London gives greenlight algorithms that prey on vulnerable drivers and passengers

Further, TfL has given Uber the greenlight for Uber to introduce so called ‘dynamic pricing’ technologies into the London market. This pricing method allows operators to set variable pay and pricing levels based on real time market conditions as well as the personal data and profiling of drivers and passengers. More worryingly, algorithmically driven dynamic pricing is known to introduce tacit collusion amongst competitors in the market. This means that competing algorithms can collude to keep prices higher and supply limited to customers and unfairly drive down pay for workers. A recent Harvard Business School research has urged that regulators take a robust approach to regulating dynamic pricing, something TfL has manifestly neglected to do.  

ADCU demands

ADCU are demanding that TfL:

·        Ban algorithmically driven dynamic pricing by all licensed operators.

·        Insist that Uber and Bolt obey all employment law in full as a condition of license.

ADCU are demanding that Uber and Bolt:

·        Raise fares to £2.50 per mile (Uber currently charge only £1.16 per mile)

·        Take no more than 15% in commission from drivers.

·        End all unfair dismissals and allow full right of appeal with union representation.

·        Obey the Supreme Court decision and all employment and transport law.

International action

In the first international action of its kinds for the gig economy, today’s action is being coordinated with the FNV union of the Netherlands who will simultaneously be staging an action against Uber at their Europe region headquarters in Amsterdam.

Abdurzak Hadi, Organiser and Chair of ADCU London said:

“Two years have now passed since the Supreme Court ruling and things are worse than ever with drivers working longer and longer hours to scramble for less work and lower pay. London’s hardworking minicab drivers feel, at best they have been let down Transport for London, Uber & Bolt; at worst, they have been conned. But the situation is worse than just regulatory negligence. By assisting the platform operators by ramping up licensing while delaying implementation of agreed safety standards, Transport for London is actively compromising the safety of drivers and the travelling public. The regulator is contributing to congestion and poor air quality the city and plunging drivers into poverty. Transport for London should be in special measures.”

James Farrar, General Secretary said:

“The Mayor and Transport for London failed in their duty when they gave Uber the green light to set loose such dangerous and predatory algorithms in what is supposed to be a closely regulated market. Passengers and drivers are, directly and indirectly, unfairly targeted for personal auto-exploitation. Vulnerable passengers are placed at risk when service is denied or unfairly priced while driver pay is unfairly held down by means of employer tacit collusion and with individuals targeted for black and grey listing.”