• Renewal of license should be conditional on Uber paying minimum wage and holiday pay.
  • Failure of TFL to include a single dedicated representative body for private hire drivers is a dereliction of duty.
  • IWGB and other precarious workers organisations to protest outside TFL on 27 September.

14 September: The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) and the lead claimants in the landmark employment rights case against Uber have written to TFL to demand that the renewal of Uber’s license be conditional on the company respecting workers’ rights, including payment the London Living Wage after costs and holiday pay.

The letter, jointly signed by IWGB General Secretary Jason Moyer-Lee, as well as James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, the founders of IWGB’s United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch and lead claimants in “Farrar, Aslam v Uber”, also slams TFL’s unwillingness to engage with private hire drivers in its regulatory consultation process.

“Although we are the largest trade union body for private hire drivers we are denied the right to join the stakeholder process and adhoc enquiries almost always fail to raise a response. More broadly, TfL does not recognise a single dedicated representative body for private hire drivers. Unfortunately, we can also no longer ignore obvious racial discrimination at play in TfL’s trade engagement process,” the letter reads, in reference to the fact that 80% of private hire drivers come from London’s minority community, while 80% of taxi drivers are white British.

TFL’s behaviour amounts to a “dereliction of duty” resulting in a “deterioration in standards which threatens the safety of private hire drivers, their passengers and other road users”, as some drivers end up earning far below the minimum wage, between £5 and £6 per hour, while working up to 90 hours a week.

Consequently, the IWGB demands:

  • That worker rights protections – including the London living wage & recognition that drivers are “workers” in law – be conditional upon Uber and all private hire operator license renewal.
  • TfL immediately recognise the UPHD branch of the IWGB union as a regulatory stakeholder with access to all monthly and quarterly meetings where driver concerns can be raised and dealt with
  • TfL engage with the private hire driver community to define ply for hire rights and to define private hire pre booking, as the current regime blurs the line between taxi and minicabs, putting the latter in legal jeopardy.

The letter also informs TFL that IWGB will hold a precarious workers protest starting at TFL’s offices on 27 September, the first day of Uber’s appeal of last year’s employment tribunal decision.

The full letter can be found here.

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