Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

App Drivers and Couriers Union holds protest against Uber and Bolt fares

Transport for London accused of failing to regulate Uber and Bolt fares and allowing “dangerous” algorithmic pricing.

Transport for London (TfL) has been accused By App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) For failing to regulate and oversee Uber and Bolt fares and allowing “dangerous” algorithmic pricing.

ADCU members staged a protest in London yesterday against TfL and the Mayor of London, whom they accused of allowing “abusive algorithms” to determine cab fares.

The ADCU said drivers were “furious” at TfL for giving Uber and Bolt the green light to use fares and pay determined by algorithms from the licensed minicab trade.

Last week, Uber introduced this “dynamic pricing” in London, which allows operators to set variable pay and pricing levels based on real-time market conditions, personal data, and driver and passenger profiling.

The union demanded that TfL ban algorithmic pricing by all licensed operators, which they say involves collusion on wages and prices and an invasion of privacy.

They also demanded that Uber and Bolt raise fares to £2.50 per mile and take no more than 15 percent commission from drivers.

Other demands include an end to unfair dismissals and full appeal rights with union representation.

This month marks the second anniversary of the Supreme Court‘s ruling against Uber, but the ADCU says Uber has yet to comply with rulings focused on workers’ rights.

The union says the transportation app giant is still not paying drivers for wait times, despite the court ruling, drivers should be paid from log in to log out, not from pick up to time of return.

Abdurzak Hadi, organizer and president of ADCU London, said things have only gotten worse for drivers over the past two years.

“Drivers are working longer and longer hours to struggle for less work and lower pay.

“London’s hard-working minicab drivers feel they have at best been let down by Transport for London, Uber and Bolt; at worst, they have been duped.

“But the situation is worse than simple regulatory oversight.

“By aiding platform operators by increasing licenses while delaying the implementation of agreed safety standards, Transport for London is actively undermining the safety of drivers and the traveling public.

“The regulator contributes to congestion and poor air quality in the city and plunges drivers into poverty. Transport for London should be subject to special measures.

A TfL spokesperson told TaxiPoint that they “cannot regulate the price of private hire car journeys.”.

However, the ADCU says TfL is getting around the issue, as they never asked TfL to set fares, but to ban algorithmic pricing.

James Farrar, general secretary of the ADCU, accused the mayor of London and TfL of having failed in their duty by authorizing the algorithms, which he described as “dangerous and predatory”.

“Passengers and drivers are, directly and indirectly, unfairly targeted for self-exploitation.

“Vulnerable passengers are put at risk when service is denied or unfairly priced, while the driver’s salary is unfairly maintained through tacit collusion by the employer and with people targeted for black and grey listing. ”

The protest was the first coordinated international action of this kind for the gig economy, as the FNV union in the Netherlands also held a protest yesterday against Uber at its European headquarters.

The demonstrators in London then joined the nurses who were on strike on a picket line in front of St Thomas’ Hospital.

The ADCU is the UK’s largest union for licensed private drivers and couriers.