“There isn’t a driver shortage. There’s a pay shortage,” say Uber Drivers

Thu, Nov 11, 2021, 10:15 AM
  • Private hire drivers working for Uber are only able to accept 1 in 5 rides offered by the app to cover costs and earn a decent living, following years of plummeting pay.
  • Despite Uber’s loss in the Supreme Court that ruled that drivers were entitled to holiday pay and minimum wage, cuts to pay per mile pay add to the growing list of unfair pay conditions, including no pay for the time to pick up customers, high deductions on trips from the airport, and fixed-rate fares that do not account for traffic or diversions.

Thursday 11 November: Many private hire drivers are only able to accept 1 in 5 rides offered by Uber, following years of plummeting pay per mile. Uber claims mass departures from the industry have resulted in a driver shortage. However, drivers from the United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD) branch of the IWGB spotlighting the decline in pay per mile as the real reason for increased waiting times and the shortage of rides available.

The impact of this is being made worse by recent fuel spikes and a host of other issues relating to unfair pay. Drivers are not paid for the drive to pick up customers and may be offered trips 20 miles from their location. Fixed-rate fares which are calculated on the basis of the shortest distance from pickup to drop off were also introduced in late 2020. This does not account for diversions, unexpected route changes, or traffic congestion which all come at the driver’s expense.

Increasingly Uber has used expensive ‘surge’ pricing to deal with the increase in drivers rejecting rides, targeting local areas with higher demand, and forcing drivers to travel to these areas to get the higher fares. By doing so, Uber leaves customers outside of these areas waiting for rides.

Nader Awaad, Chair of the UPHD (IWGB), says: “There is not a driver shortage. There is a pay shortage. We are ready to work but Uber is making it impossible for us because the pay has become so low. After costs and the drive to pick-up customers, we do not have enough money to live. We should not be forced to volunteer for a multi-billion dollar company.

These pay cuts mean that our right to pensions and holiday pay confirmed by the Supreme Court is coming out of our pockets instead of Uber’s.

Surge pricing is not the answer. We want all rides to be valued fairly so that we have enough money to pay our costs and live. Until app operators deal with the root of the problem and pay us fairly, customers are going to be left waiting in the rain.”

Alex Marshall, President of the IWGB, says: “This is yet another bogus excuse made up by Uber. The reason Uber is struggling to meet the demand of their customers is because the fares have fallen so low that it does not make financial sense for drivers to work for them. Uber needs to stop their endless pursuit of short-term profits and invest in a sustainable business model by paying their drivers wages they can actually support themselves on. Otherwise, at this rate, Uber will be left with no drivers.”

Back the workers

Precarious and low-paid workers are fighting back against a rigged system. Will you help to build the union by making a monthly donation?

© Independent Workers Union of Great Britain 2024

Designed and built at the IWGB with love, care and coffee. Hasta la victoria siempre.

Log in·Contribute