Minicab drivers are staging an anti-Uber protest in Westminster

 
Lynsey Barber
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Drivers are making there way to Westminster (Source: Getty)

A fresh anti-Uber protest has hit the capital, aimed at piling more pressure on the Mayor of London to "take action" against the startup.

Minicab drivers are staging a protest from Edgware Road, past Transport for London's offices in Victoria and which arrives at Westminster at 2.30pm.

Members of drivers union United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) are calling on Sadiq Khan to make workers rights and fair tax contribution part of the conditions of Uber's license to operate in the capital, which is up for renewal early next year.

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The group, which counts thousands of minicab drivers as members, is also adding its voice to calls for the number of private hire vehicles in the capital to be capped.


(Source: James Farrar)

"It is clear now that Uber will not voluntarily clean up its act and pay drivers fairly. The Mayor cannot take a laissez faire approach and let this play out in the court for years," said James Farrar, the founder of the group who told City A.M. there were hundreds of drivers in attendance.

Farrar is one of two Uber drivers who won a landmark legal case against the company to be recognised as workers with rights to holiday and sick pay. An appeal by Uber against the decision is expected to be heard in court in the new year.

In an open letter to Uber founder Travis Kalanick and UK boss Jo Bertram, the group said it was making a point that "companies such as Uber have pushed matters too far and regulatory action is now required".

It invited them to a meeting where "we can work positively with you to ensure driver worker rights are respected and that we can begin to work together to address some of these substantive grievances."

"We want Uber to be successful but to be so Uber needs to commit itself to a more responsible business model that is fair to all stakeholders and not just shareholders," it said.

Read more: The government wants "flexibility but fairness" for Uber workers

In a second letter to the mayor, it claimed it was "nothing short of a public scandal" that abuses of workers rights occurred under supervision of Transport for London.

"The time has come for you to take action," it said.

"Due to the failure of TfL and politicians to get to grips with the problems of egregious labour abuse in London’s minicab trade and to highlight the urgency of the problem, it is with regret that we will be supporting drivers in the United Private Hire Drivers protest"

An Uber spokesperson said: “Tens of thousands of licensed drivers in London choose to partner with Uber because they love the freedom and flexibility of being their own boss."

They cited recent research it conducted showing nine out of 10 Uber drivers were happy and s majority of them had increased their income and work-life balance since becoming a driver.

“We’re proud of the economic opportunities we have created for people who can choose to drive when and where they want," the spokesperson added.

Khan put together an action plan to tackle the black cab and private hire industries' issues in the capital, however, that came under fire from Uber for favouring black cab drivers and increasing red tape. However, black cab drivers believe the measures do not go far enough.

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