Uber drivers have gathered in Melbourne to kick off a global day of protest against the ride-sharing company and what the Transport Workers Union (TWU) calls a deeply unfair working environment.
Dozens of protestors gathered at the company’s Victoria offices ahead of the company’s initial public offering (IPO), which is tipped to become one of the biggest debuts in US stock market history.
Despite Uber saying last week the IPO could see the company valued at a cool AUD$129 billion, the TWU’s Tony Sheldon issued a statement saying “drivers around the world are getting ripped off.”
Referencing the company’s prospectus, which states “we expect Driver dissatisfaction will generally increase” due to the planned reduction of “incentives”, Sheldon said “for drivers this is a disaster and means they will struggle even further.”
— Pat Simons (@prrsimons) May 8, 2019
The TWU argues the effective earnings of Uber and UberEats drivers often come under minimum wage. The union has also called for Uber to pay superannuation to those who drive for the company, along with assuring increased driver safety.
In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said “Drivers are at the heart of our service – we can’t succeed without them – and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road.
“Whether it’s being able to track your earnings, new safety features, or stronger insurance protections, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers.”
The demonstrations come after a slew of submissions to the Victoria On-demand Workforce inquiry, which was founded to ensure ridesharing companies follow the workplace regulations enforced in other industries.
The inquiry will table a report on the matter later this year.
Protests have been planned in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., London, Nairobi, Sao Paolo, and a host of other cities which have adopted the immensely popular service and its competitors.