Washington, May 7 (AFP and Reuters) – In some cities, a 24-hour strike has begun, while a New York-based taxi workers' union, based on its activity both for the application and for the work of traditional drivers, drivers who stop between 7 from Argentina) and 9 local, hours of increased use of car rental. All Uber, Lyft, Via and other driver-based applications were called to stop working in cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington. A similar action was developed in London.
Drivers try to improve workplace safety, demand an end to arbitrary "de-activation" ("digital firing") and better distribution of revenue between drivers and platform owners. In New York, the Alliance said that most of its 10,000 associates participated in the strike, as well as other non-contributors.
Uber rejected driver action: "Drivers are at the center of our service, we can not succeed without them, and thousands of people come to work in Uber every day, focused on how to improve their experience, inside and outside the streets." For his part, Lift said that the earnings per hour of their drivers has increased in the last two years and exceeds $ 10 billion, although they did not provide figures for the staff they employ or for the hours they work.
Some drivers require complementary revenue for their work, others believe that the incentives offered by the company are reduced day by day, as they consolidate their market dominance. Claim a decent income and do not believe in the promise of a "bonus" after the opening of the stock market. The global protest was called ahead of the establishment of the final bid price of the IPO.
In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that Uber would attract about $ 10 billion in the debut of the stock market to reach $ 90,000 to $ 100,000 million in one of the largest stock in history, after Alibaba and Facebook. The protests were better organized than the mobilization made when "Left" debuted a month ago because it runs the Workers' Alliance of New York Taxi. The Union points out that in the brochure of the IPO offer "Uber already says that it pays the drivers a lot of money".
Workers, not "performers"
The labor issue has become one of the major risks to the profitability of desire. The company faces 60,000 requests from drivers who provide the service through the application. The company thinks they are contractors and do not recognize them as employees. The assessment of contractual relations is the subject of judicial proceedings in dozens of cities around the world where the application recruits staff for the carriage of passengers.
Sonia Lama, a New York driver, says: "I am protesting for the future of my son." He rides for Uber for four years, but it gets harder and harder to turn to the end. "They dominate everything, they reduce rates or reduce motives when they do not want so many cars circulating." "We are supposedly not employed, but we are susceptible to the interests of investors." It is precisely the opposite of the treatment of freelancers that companies give to drivers and strict control of working conditions and possible rewards, are highlighted by applications.
Another thing in the discussion is the discretion of "dismissal". When an application company no longer wants a driver, simply blocking access to the application, it "deactivates" the service. Sometimes it is about misdemeanors, delays or bad benefits. But, on many occasions, the driver simply can not access. And nobody will give you solutions, or explanations … or work.
A NYTWA member believes he was deactivated "Because my photo was in protest news three years ago, when we lowered the rates. What we condemned then is still valid," he says. The NYTWA chief condemned all this as the owners and their executives "win billions and force drivers to poverty and bankruptcy."
Uber pointed out to investors in their brochure for a presentation that such claims would reduce the motivation to compensate for the decline in profits. At the same time, most of the capitalization received with the share bid will be used to continue the development of the autonomous vehicle. Robo-taxi, says Uber, "will reduce the need for drivers".
Recently, the Federal Revenue Agency issued a resolution that struck Uber hard. "It's not just a mediator between drivers and buyers, but transport service and drivers are dependent on employees," the assembly agency ruled.
He did this to ask Uber Argentina SRL for more than $ 358 million for tax and social security debts. The collector explained that the Uber company owes the Ministry of Finance to pay $ 22,380,433 for VAT corresponding to the fiscal periods from 04/2016 to 11/2016. In addition, AFIP found that there was an employer's debt of $ 24,927,589 and social security contributions of $ 31,070,025 million, plus interest ($ 43.3 million) and fines ($ 111.9 million).
AFIP believes that in the fiscal year (2016/2017) Uber developed a transport service through the work of vehicle owners, and therefore paid VAT and profits through continuous representation in the country. It also found that drivers are employed dependent, not independent workers, as the company claims.