back to article Uber drivers can now unionise after ride biz recognises GMB, one of the UK's largest trade unions

Uber has officially recognized the trade union GMB, clearing the way for as many as 70,000 Uber drivers in the UK to collectively bargain for higher wages and better working conditions. GMB has fought the ride-hailing app for years, and supported a legal fight that resulted in the UK Supreme Court declaring in February that …

  1. AW-S

    The IT connection?

    Saw reference to the Uber app, but that's all.

    1. Dabooka Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: The IT connection?

      FFS at least use the icon

    2. Kane Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: The IT connection?

      "Saw reference to the Uber app, but that's all."

      More importantly, where's the Paris Hilton angle?

  2. SundogUK

    Well that's Uber done for then. And all those drivers who loved the flexible approach to working with them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This was "ground breaking" industrial relations on the radio Thursday morning (note to El Reg - it's old news today).

      The Uber management were relaxed about it. The GMB rep wanted more. Some drivers interviewed said they couldn't care less.

      Take up by drivers is expected to be ultra low btw.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Take up by drivers is expected to be ultra low btw."

        Well, yeah. Paying union dues from minimum wage less vehicle expenses would put them in the negative income territory.

        I see Uber, Lyft and the like as a union of gypsy cab drivers already. I'd be very interested in seeing what percentage of drivers have a license to carry passengers and hold commercial insurance. I happed to notice on my policy that driving for Uber or Lyft (named specifically) or any other passenger hire situation is strictly verboten. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to nullify your claims so if you have an accident and file a claim, if the adjuster sees a taxi sticker in the windshield, you may have to prove that you weren't on duty and had insurance to cover that activity. Even if you do get a pay out, you may also be blacklisted from purchasing insurance from them in future.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Actually they usually do have insurance. The slight problem will be that it's probably invalid for the rather more common reason why they're likely to be bent.

          The only way to make money doing that job is to run the taxilift-share 24x7 while using one account, one insurance payment, etc.

          Thus the driver is quite likely not to be the guy listed on the license he's carrying or the taxi permit, just someone who looks a bit like him to a cursory inspection in a bad light.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sound of a very very small violin

    Uber et al are essentially cuckoos - parasitically exploiting society. They rely on the desperation of workers in a post-industrial insecure labour market, which is bad enough, but they also expect the taxpayer to make up the difference in their poverty wages, and to build the roads they drive on and maintain the infrastructure of the internet that enables them. And the proportion of 'I drive because I like the flexibility' to 'I lost my job and this was all i could find' is about the same as 'I was born in poverty and am a self made millionaire' to 'Daddy sent me to Eton and I got a job in Uncles' hedge fund'

  4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    Someone is going to pay for it.

    If the cost is put on customer, there will be less rides and some of the Uber workers will lose their jobs as less people will use Uber.

    Or it will decrease the money the driver receives per each ride to pay for not ride-related benefits.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      But all the GMB shop stewards will get free Uber rides.

    2. Aladdin Sane
    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      "Someone is going to pay for it."

      Uber has consistently lost billions every year because they're more interested in gaining market share than actually operating a profitable business. So what difference will it make if their costs go up a bit? Today they lose $1 billion, tomorrow they lose $1.5 billion. It's not their money, venture capitalists have been happy to shovel all that cash into the hole. If they didn't care about it before, why would they start caring now?

      In a normal world, sure, if you force a company to pay their workers more, that additional cost will be passed on to customers so the business can stay in business. With the likes of Uber, there is simply no connection between costs and income, so there's no reason to expect anything sensible to happen as a result of any changes.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Uber has consistently lost billions every year because they're more interested in gaining market share than actually operating a profitable business.

        Their plan was to first usurp taxi companies to get local monopolies, and then replace all the drivers with self driving cars. They foolishly believed the hype that self-driving cars would be here by now and consequentially Uber is basically fucked, they've burnt up far too much money to ever be in a position to repay the debt.

        The next few years are going to have some prolonged death rattles from Uber when the venture capital people finally realize they've been duped.

  5. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Not cheaper

    People were convinced that Uber was cheaper than a "taxi" because....... app. They are, but the company doesn't make any money so calling them a disruptor is a joke. Taxi companies/drivers charge the rates they do so they make a fair wage, pay the real costs of maintaining the car and can put money aside for a replacement vehicle down the road. There is also that bit about a passenger carry endorsement and commercial insurance.

    I think Uber could have used their software to convince established taxi companies to hire them for dispatching. If Uber couldn't make money that, they would have to seriously rethink their business plan. I have to agree with comments above that they may have dug too deep a hole to ever get out.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not cheaper

      "I think Uber could have used their software to convince established taxi companies to hire them for dispatching."

      Maybe, but probably not. In that case, they would just be another app on the market. It may be hard to believe nowadays thanks the press that Uber gets, but there were already taxi apps out there before Uber existed.

    2. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Not cheaper

      Also, I don't know about the US, but in London, they aren't offering anything new that wasn't already offered by other mini-cab companies, including being able to book rides on an app.

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