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From: Article posted to home page Notebook, 14 June 2016: Brief articles and notes on the Socialist Party website

Search site for keywords: Birmingham - Uber - Strike - Fares - Drivers

Uber drivers strike against unfair fares

Taxi firm Uber's smartphone app, photo Pexel (Creative Commons)

Taxi firm Uber's smartphone app, photo Pexel (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Around a thousand taxi drivers for multinational private hire firm Uber struck for 24 hours on 6 June. Strikers also protested outside Uber's Birmingham office at midday.

The action, backed by drivers' association United Private Hire Drivers, highlighted issues such as reducing passenger fares without consulting staff.

If they refuse to pick up a fare - for instance, if the distance is too far - bosses can also take drivers, technically 'self-employed', off the books. This means drivers are forced to take on jobs even if they will not earn a real wage from it.

A spokesperson for the drivers said:

"The fare deductions have forced us to do more fares for less money. Uber continues to insist drivers are earning more, but only states gross takings without even basic deductions for insurance, fuel and other running costs."

Uber has also recently come under scrutiny for tax avoidance (see Uber and Facebook tax dodge scandal). Mistreatment of staff and the race to the bottom in wages is just another example of how big business exploits workers to pump profits into the 1%.

The Socialist Party fully supports strike action by Uber drivers. Scrap phoney 'self-employed' casual contracts - for job security and flexibility on our terms, not the bosses'. For collective bargaining rights and a guaranteed living wage for all drivers.

Corinthia Ward

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 14 June 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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