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GMB applies to become 'interested party' in Uber-TFL dispute

Thursday, November 30, 2017

GMB APPLIES TO BECOME OFFICIAL ‘INTERESTED PARTY’ IN UBER’S TFL LICENCE DISPUTE

GMB’s concerns remain that any Uber licence in London takes account of the issues raised in our employment litigation, ensuring that our driver members are not obliged to drive excessive hours and that driver and passenger safety is paramount.

GMB has instructed law firm Leigh Day to apply to intervene, or be listed as an Interested Party, in the appeal being brought by Uber London Limited against the decision by Transport for London (TFL) in September 2017 not to renew Uber’s Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence. 

In the application to Westminster Magistrates Court, GMB says it would like to participate in the appeal proceedings as it is concerned that Uber’s business model puts public safety at serious risk.

GMB claims that Uber encourages and incentivises drivers to work excessive hours. 

In May 2017, law firm Leigh Day, on behalf of GMB, sent a letter before action setting out a proposed judicial review of any decision to renew Uber’s licence.

The letter set out certain conditions or regulations which they said would address the safety risk posed by Uber’s business model. 

In February 2017, the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee heard evidence from Uber drivers who said they felt ‘trapped’ in their job.

The MPs heard which they said forced them to work long hours to cover their costs, which included the purchase of their cars. 

London Uber driver Syed Khalil, told the committee that it was usual practice for drivers to work as long as 100 hours a week and claimed the company did not prevent drivers from logging on to do so.

To retain their ‘account status, Uber drivers also have to accept at least 80% of trip requests. 

Uber were asked by MPs to provide information on the number of drivers working more than 80 hours per week. 

On 8 November Uber responded in a letter to the committee revealing that over a quarter of drivers used the app for more than 40 hours a week and over 2000 drivers used the app for over 60 hours, no response was given for the proportion working over 80 hours. 

Maria Ludkin , GMB Legal Director, said:

“GMB’s concerns remain that any Uber licence in London takes account of the issues raised in our employment litigation, ensuring that our driver members are not obliged to drive excessive hours and that driver and passenger safety is paramount.

“In the event that TFL are obliged to renew Uber’s license, they must attach conditions to ensure that Uber plays on the same field as other companies as far as safety is concerned.

Rosa Curling, from Leigh Day, said: 

“There are obviously many assurances that Uber need to provide to protect the safety of not only the general public, but also its customers and drivers. Technological change is a constant and is to be embraced but not at the exclusion of road safety which has been hard fought for. 

“We would ask the Court to allow GMB the chance to present its evidence on the very many safety concerns it has so that any decision to grant a licence needs to come with the correct regulations and safeguards for all.”

ENDS

CONTACT: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

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