The workers, united
Will never be defeated!
Drivers who work for Indonesia’s Uber equivalent, Gojek, have gone on strike for three days in response to some of the payments they receive being halved. Around 1,000 drivers across the nation organised their protests in a WhatsApp group. Among their tactics was sending flowers and a card to Gojek's offices in Kemang. One of …
I have nothing against platforms managing allocation and timing activities better, but that this power gives them the ability to force beggar rates on their workers (not just drivers) is and remains deplorable.
There is IMHO nothing better than decent wages to truly stimulate any economy, but these companies are all "profit NOW" setups with no plan for the future, because what they're doing is not sustainable. All they do is drain the social security nets (if they exist at all) in the places where they show up via underpaying people, and as soon as they are sucked dry they'll just move to the next set of victims in a new country.
I'm all for regulation here - there should literally be NO ability or structure possible to push people below minimum wage plus compensation for having to buy and maintain the tools for their employment (car, insurance, fuel, maintenance).
But the companies get away with it because the consumers take part in the race to the bottom prices.
When you see cab B offering half the cost of cab A, will you be looking at the work conditions for driver B before you use the cheapest one? And then, some of the drivers will accept just about any penny because that is more than nothing. With the company squeezing at one side and the consumers squeezing at the other side, there will be no fair system.
Even regulations cannot prevent grey or black offerings and illegal behavior when the chances are slim to none to get caught by officials and fines are pocket money for the big corporations. The gig-economy is just a new/another form of race to the bottom and we all cheer at the prices without actually looking at the cost. For every rich person you should ask yourself: "who and how many paid dearly for that person's wealth?".
The gig-economy is just a new/another form of race to the bottom
There's nothing new about it except the name. It was the fundamental basis of the old agricultural hiring fairs, and carried forward into modern industry. My Grandfather was a welder, he used to show up at the shipyard gates every morning to see if there was work for him. If there was he got paid, if not he didn't.
That is why I support local taxi drivers, here in Germany.
The rates are set by the local council and all taxis have to charge the same rates and all have to have a calibrated taxometer in the vehicle.
Add to that that Uber was employing drivers illegally, here, there was no real incentive to use Uber - in Germany if you are plying for hire (i.e. transporting people for money), you need a professional driving license and the relevant insurance for the vehicle (commercial insurance), which can only be obtained if you have a professional driving license - this has nothing to do with the taxi licenses, which the council allocate, this is just another category on the driving license.
Uber were not making sure all their drivers had the relevant license (only a small percentage had, when they were first taken to court) and therefore the majority of drivers were driving illegally, without insurance, when they were on-the-clock.
Such disregard for public, driver and customer safety and welfare did nothing to help their image, nor did "mispelling" Über.
Over in the US, the taxi companies have licenses but they use them as a shelter against competition, and are still pretty much back in the last century. This is why Uber/Lyft/etc are so popular.
Their apps don't work. I had the app misreport my location several times, and I could not set it, so I got blacklisted and now I can't get a taxi.
Their cars are barely operable. The brakes and fan belt were squealing horribly on my last ride. Before that, the car stank of fuel fumes.
My driver actually read a paperback book while she was driving!
And of course there's the stereotypical racist bastard driver that won't shut up.
In Germany, it is, generally better. The vehicles are inspected regularly and if they have any technical defects, their license will be removed on the spot and will only be returned/re-issued, once the driver has had the vehicle professionally repaired and can prove it to the relevant licensing authority.
All the drivers I've had in Germany have been professional and friendly, although most have a blatant disregard for speed limits.
... and this is the job of the state: ensuring everyone plays by the rules.
When economists preach that competition is a good thing, Joe Average should safely be able to hire the cheapest cab, since it is not his role to safeguard working conditions for the cabby are adequate.
This is the role of the government, to set the rules, and to enforce them.
Naturally, some grey or black offerings will work-around the rules, but that is the definition of a grey or black offering: partially or totally being against the established rules.
If we want our market economy not to adopt modern equivalents of slave labour, we need to make sure we do not dismantle the state, who is the only entity to force companies to stick to the rules.
A public call for boycot is nice, yet the spectre of jail for managers of said companies is generally a stronger incentive to play nice and fair.
The few times I take taxis, pricing is not a consideration. Reliability is.
Note that I rarely take taxis because the rates to get to where I need to go tend to be close to the cost of renting a cheap car. And the company will pay for the rental a lot faster than they will pay for the taxi. Yes, I often need to make long-distance road trips. The cost of going from Lake Worth to Hialeah by taxi is… interesting. Getting a clunker from Enterprise car rental, literally down the block from the office, is much more reasonable.
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