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Drivers in Nottingham to Strike Over Uber Conditions

Ride-hailing giant Uber is about to feel the force of disgruntled drivers in Nottingham as they strike over conditions.

The strike has been called by United Private Hire Drivers and is scheduled from 1300 on Tuesday 9th October for 24 hours.

Striking drivers and their supporters will also take part in a rally outside Uber’s Nottingham Headquarters in the city centre.

According to UPHD local branch chairman, Azeem Hanif, the aim is to get better pay, keep more of their share and be treated better by the tech giant.

Mr Hanif told the Nottingham Post that Uber treated the drivers “with contempt”.

“They call us partners but do not understand the meaning of the word. They treat us as disposable,” he said.

“Our message to customers is to help us to get what we would like as our basic rights as workers. The prices are still going to be low but we are currently in a vulnerable position.”

But Fareed Baloch said the best way for drivers to get better conditions was to leave Uber.

“Uber is a multinational investment platform which has struck upon using drivers as a way to make money. They really won’t care that some drivers in Nottingham going on strike because their business model is based on large numbers of drivers across the world giving them a percentage of their revenue.

“They won’t change that global business model – the way to affect change is locally by working in companies which are dedicated to their area and know their staff. You can still use the same – and better – technology even as an owner-driver.”

The strike has four aims.

Firstly, the fare should rise to £2 a mile from £1.20. The fare is the money that goes to the driver, as the booking fee is taken by Uber.

But from this fare, a commission is taken by Uber, sometimes as much as 25 per cent, which means the higher fares will not only be going to the drivers but they will also be going to Uber. In this case, an additional 20p per mile.

The union wants to see this commission brought down to 15 per cent.

Mr Hanif said drivers with other companies earn at least £2 an hour without having to pay a commission – but some are having to join Uber because Uber is taking customers from other companies – something which Zoom has spoken out against because it causes distortions in the market which will inevitably damage consumers and drivers alike.

Another union aim to end what it describes as “unfair dismissals” based on anecdotes that drivers have been suspended after customer complaints and not asked to put their side of the story across to ensure fairness.

Finally, they want to be treated “with respect” as if they were full-time employees, with benefits such as holidays, and a reduction in the number of drivers employed (between 700 and 900 in the city, Mr Hanif calculates), which means some struggle to get jobs. A UK court ruling said that Uber drivers were not ‘self-employed’ which means they are entitled to certain benefits.

It is not clear how many taxis will take part in the protest but Mr Hanif hopes drivers from other companies will join in solidarity with them.

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