Two trade unions have called on Uber drivers to stop work on two different dates: 28 September and 6 October. Drivers should send a clear signal that they will not play along with inter-union rivalry, by striking on both days.
Back in March, following a Supreme Court ruling, taxi company Uber agreed to pay its 70,000 UK drivers an hourly minimum wage, holiday pay and to auto-enrol them in a pension scheme from 24 September.
In May the GMB union, who brought the court case, struck a recognition deal with Uber – the first the company has agreed anywhere in its global operations. But the deal does not allow collective bargaining on pay. This deal is great PR for Uber, and gives GMB privileged access to Uber’s ‘driver support hubs’ to recruit members, but signs away the basic right of the members to take collective action over pay, terms and conditions.
James Farrer, general secretary of the independent App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) said: “Poor pay and Uber’s failure to pay waiting time continue to be a huge source of discontent for the workforce, which is why the ADCU is staging a 24-hour Uber driver strike across eight UK cities on 28 September.”
Action took place in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. Drivers were asked to not log on to the app during the strike and passengers have been requested to not book the service. In many cities drivers also gathered in protest outside Uber’s offices.
They are demanding Uber pays drivers for up to 40% waiting time, reduces its commission take from 25% to 15% and stops dismissing workers without the right to appeal. The ADCU – which brought the original employment tribunal that led to the Supreme Court ruling backed by the GMB – is a split from the IWGB’s United Private Hire Drivers branch, which, confusingly, is striking on 6 October.
Uber drivers need to cut through this mess. Whether they are members of the ADCU, the IWGB or the GMB, they should take action together, starting by supporting the strikes on both 28 September and 6 October.
Members in the three unions should elect delegates to a joint strike committee to coordinate the action and mobilise support from the wider labour movement.