back to article Union demands better deal for app drivers as Uber license renewal looms

Gig workers have urged London Mayor Sadiq Khan to force Uber to give its app drivers a better deal on pay as the ride-hailing biz seeks to renew its license to operate in the British capital. The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) wants Mayor Khan to enforce a UK Supreme Court finding that Uber drivers are workers and not …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

    As much as I sympathize with Uber drivers, being paid simply because you're logged on is an open invitation to being paid for nothing.

    I hate Uber and its managers with a passion, but no, this is not acceptable. You get paid for your work, not for being logged on.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      Re: "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

      Well, no. Staff in shops are paid whether they are serving customers or not. I do recall a news story several years ago where a memo was leaked proposing KFC workers should clock out if there were no cutomers in the shop, and KFC got rightly berated for that. So what's the difference here? If Uber staff refuse to takes rides, fair enough, they shouldn't get paid, but if they are genuinely available, it's their exmployers responsibiity to keep them busy.

      1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

        I think you both make good points. Historically, however, taxi drivers have only gotten paid while they have a fare, and the price of the fare is supposed to balance out idle time, so Uber is at least following precedent in that regard. The taxi industry also has a long history of aggressive price competition, which is why it's so heavily regulated in most civilized places, ensuring on the one hand that taxi drivers are fairly compensated and on the other that taxi firms don't turn into rival gangs doing battle over limited turf. Uber is trying to disrupt the industry, but it seems like they're walking the same well-worn path as the taxi industry, just with an app.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

          Simply require black-cab drivers to pay themselves minimum wage if they have a fare or not.

          That will teach the black-cab driver employers oppressing the black-cab drivers

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

      "You get paid for your work, not for being logged on"

      Good point. Get employees to wear a tracker, log their activities on screen and then don't pay them while they're not working desk. Having a piss - don't get paid. Grabbing a coffee - don't get paid. Walking to a meeting - don't get paid. Responding to an urgent mail from the other half - don't get paid. Waiting for your boss to clear out of the meeting room you've booked - don't get paid. Being interviewed by HR for whining about the tracker - don't get paid. Etc.*

      Everyone knows one or two people who clock in then spend the next hour or so making coffee, doing the chat rounds, sorting their personal mail, etc. before actually getting down to work - no different from from someone logging on to Uber and then not doing any jobs. Uber needs to do like every company and manage it. If someone can log on to the Uber app and not work for hours then that's Uber's fault for mismanaging their labour force or having too many drivers for the customers they're likely to get. The "gig' economy lets employers dump all the uncertainty around management and load all the risk on the employees, which would be fine if the employees were getting the thick end of the £wedge to compensate for the risk, but they're not. If Uber want to trade on the fast availability that comes from having a surplus of drivers online they they should pay for it and put the fares up or do like other companies do and match resources against demand.

      * Yeah - Amazon - I know.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Drivers should be compensated [..] from the moment they log on and off the app"

      > You get paid for your work, not for being logged on.

      That's even a problem with our (government run) ambulance service.

      The staff are paid very little for being on-call and then a decent wage for call outs.

      In the city this means $$$$ but out here in our rural idyll there are very few calls, so staff can't afford to take the job, so we end up with a long ambulance trip from the city or expensive helicopter.

  2. codejunky Silver badge

    Eh?

    Is this an attempt to hold on to their bad image? Talking about unions of course. If people dont want to work for Uber, if it doesnt pay enough, if they dont make money doing it the driver can stop. Not everyone wants to be an employee.

  3. Silly Goose

    If they are employees which they are, then they are subject to the same laws as everyone else.

    If Uber doesn't want to pay a minimum wage which is a legal requirement I wonder what HMRC would say about this if Uber doesn't have to pay minimum wage then why should any other business have to pay minimum wage or am I missing something, it wouldn't be the 100'th time Uber didn't want to follow the same laws as everyone else.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Because Uber (claim) they are offering a service where drivers can choose to take jobs and get (relatively) well paid while they're driving.

      Do Uber have to pay minimum wage for anybody who says they are available for a drive, even if there are no customers? Does this mean that if I sign up for Uber and never actually drive I should still get paid minimum wage?

      How does this affect other industries. If I'm a theatrical agent do I have to pay my clients minimum wage if they are 'resting' ?

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Megaphone

        If you sign up for Über and don't accept the jobs that are sent to you, they will sack you.

        It is quite normal for employers to do this, and that is part of the reason why the courts ruled that Über drivers are works.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          A good test then might be does Uber decide where it will accept drivers ?

          If I'm in some barbarian part of Scotland where there are almost no customers then if I'm really a contractor then that's my problem but if Uber say that they won't accept me as a driver because there are no fares then they sound a lot like an employer.

        2. Falmari Silver badge

          @katrinab I think it is more than just “If you sign up for Über and don't accept the jobs that are sent to you, they will sack you.”

          Because with other PHV operators that can also be the case, refuse enough jobs and they just won’t use you.

          I think part of the reason that Uber drivers are classed as employees is because Uber also set the fare and route.

          Where I live in the UK, is seems non-Uber PHV drivers seem to have more control over the fare and route. The PHV are not metered, the price for a journey at the same time and through the same operator, can vary a little depending on which driver you get. If you get to know a driver through regular use, then they tend to give you a discount. Along with questions like what do you normally pay for this journey.

  4. msobkow Silver badge

    "With an app" or "on the internet" should never be allowed to be an excuse for violating fundamental rights in any nation they seek to do business in or with.

    Quite frankly, I think the people who buy into such "revolutionary" models are long overdue a sound thrashing by the courts for abusing their employees...

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