Unions divided as London takes away Uber license

The cabbies' union welcomed the decision while the Uber drivers union called it a "hammer blow".

A customer calling an Uber cab by mobile

Two trade unions have reacted very differently to Transport for London’s decision not to renew the license for the Uber taxi company.

Transport for London made the decision because it said Uber failed to address failures which put passengers at risk. Uber will go on operating while it seeks to legally challenge the decision.

Unite, which represents cabbies, and the GMB welcomed the decision while the IWGB union, which represents Uber drivers, called it a “hammer blow”.

Jim Kelly, chair of Unite’s London and Eastern cab section, said:

“Unite welcomes the decision of TfL not to renew Uber’s licence as there remains fundamental problems in the way the company operates, particularly issues around passenger safety.

“All the taxi trade wants is a level playing field. Uber’s DNA is about driving down standards and creating a race to the bottom which is not in the best interests of professional drivers or customers.

“Uber has a history of undermining licencing regimes. In particular there is growing concern about how Uber has also allowed drivers to become licenced in one area and then operate in areas where they are not licenced.

“In order to protect the public and to ensure standards are maintained it is essential that TfL follows this decision with stricter licencing of private hire operators and apps.

“This is the only way that public safety and confidence in the service can be maintained and the pay and conditions of professional drivers can be preserved.”

Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Officer said:

“As a result of sustained pressure from drivers and the public, Uber has suffered yet another defeat – losing its license to operate in London.

“The company finally has to face up to the consequences of GMB’s landmark employment tribunal victory and change its ways.

“Uber pulled more stunts than a Hollywood movie, now it’s time for them to accept their responsibilities.

“We fully expect the Supreme Court to uphold the ruling of the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal on driver’s worker rights in July.

“GMB wants to protect honest drivers, but it’s perhaps time for them to look elsewhere to work.”

On the other hand, James Farrar, chair of the UPHD branch of the Independent Workers of Great Britain union said:

“The Mayor’s decision to once again deny Uber a license will come as a hammer blow to its 50,000 drivers working under precarious conditions.”

“Many will now face the distress of facing not only unemployment but also crippling debt as they struggle to meet car lease payments.”

“The terrible price of Transport for London’s inability to run a stable regulatory regime and Uber’s refusal to play by the rules will be paid for by the most vulnerable workforce in London.”

“We are asking for an urgent meeting with the Mayor to discuss what mitigation plan can now be put in place to protect Uber drivers.”

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One Response to “Unions divided as London takes away Uber license”

  1. nhsgp

    Nothing like getting migrants sacked eh!

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