On Wednesday, Lyft and Uber drivers stopped working to protest in the streets of the cities around the world. The drivers are to fight against the ride-hailing apps’ working conditions and for their wages.
Before the Uber’s anticipated IPO (Initial Public Offering) on Friday in the New York Stock Exchange, protests of the employees appeared. And there is a possibility that the company’s valuation will lead to $91.5 billion.
Strike Around the World
Around the country, the U.K. drivers are preparing for a nine-hour boycott on the Uber app from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, and Glasgow. Moreover, on Wednesday afternoon, outside the London headquarters of Uber, drivers are going to protest too.
As of 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, the cost for transportation in London hailed 1.8x normal rate. However, it’s uncertain if the surging price was due to the driver’s availability or rainy weather conditions.
New York, Chicago, and San Francisco are some of the eight cities in the U.S. where stage protests of drivers against Uber and Lyft await.
The strike began in Australia overnight, with Uber drivers in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. They staged short protests as stated by Australia’s Transport Union.
Then, the United Private Hire Drivers Branch (UPHD) of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) arranged the protests in London. According to them, the executives of Uber are the ones who will gain from the enormous IPO. But the drivers are still underpaid.
The U.K. drivers’ current wage is £1.25 per mile in London. And they are asking for a fare rise to £2 ($2.60) per mile. Aside from that, the unions also demand to cut the commission rate they pay Uber from 25% to 15%.
According to IWGB, “Uber’s business model is unsustainable in its dependence upon a large scale worker exploitation, tax avoidance and regulatory arbitrage.”
Above all, Uber and Lyft drivers are excluded from some benefits such as minimum wage and social security. And it is because instead of employees, they identify as contractors. According to the two companies, classifying the drivers as contractors is the key to their business models.