Monday, October 08, 2018
Saturday, October 06, 2018
Uber drivers are deliberately going offline in unison so that prices surge and they can charge customers more when they log back into the app.
Uber’s so-called dynamic pricing model means that it responds to supply and demand, increasing the cost of a trip at busy times such as when bars are closing or it is raining.
One London driver wrote on an online forum : "Guys, stay logged off until surge," according to academics who carried out the study.
A second driver replied: "Why?" to which the original poster replied: "Less supply high demand = surge".
A third driver warned that, "Uber will find out if people are manipulating the system".
But the first driver was seemingly unconcerned. "They already know cos it happens every week," they responded.
During the study, academics from Warwick Business School and New York University interviewed Uber drivers in London and New York and analysed 1,012 posts on the Uberpeople.net site - a forum for drivers which is not affiliated with the company.
The researchers said drivers using the forum colluded to ensure that the number of cars in a given area would go down, causing the price to surge, potentially to several times the normal rate.
The researchers, Dr Mareike Möhlmann and Ola Henfridsson, of Warwick Business School, and Lior Zalmanson, of New York University, said the findings showed the limitations of management by algorithms rather than people.
They said that drivers have the feeling of working for a system rather than a company, and that this is exacerbated by the fact that they have "little, if, any, interaction with an actual Uber employee".
Dr Moehlmann said: "Uber uses software algorithms for oversight, governance and to control drivers, who are tracked and their performance constantly evaluated.
"In response, drivers have developed practices to regain control, even gaming the system.
"It shows that ‘algorithmic management’ that Uber uses may not only be ethically questionable but may also hurt the company itself."
Dr Lior Zalmanson, of NYU, said: "Uber’s strategy is not at all transparent . . . and this creates negative feelings towards the company."
Drivers are also playing the company’s Uber Pool cab-sharing service, which one forum user nicknamed "uberpoop", according to the research.
Instead of picking up one fare then driving to pick up another on the same route as the first, some drivers are simply ignoring the second customer or turning off the app, the academics found.
The authors of the research said drivers were, "under constant surveillance through their phones.
"Drivers’ behaviour is ranked automatically and any anomalies [are] reported for further review, with automatic bans for not obeying orders or low grades," the academics wrote.
The drivers behaviour could therefore be seen as an understandable way to break free from "algorithmic management", Professor Hendrison said.
The ride-hailing app, which operates in hundreds of cities worldwide and is valued at $69bn according to Bloomberg, has been plagued by controversy about its questionable management practices.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT: Kalanick Mounts Comeback.
Founder and former chief executive Travis Kalanick left the company in June after a series of scandals including allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.
A number of news outlets have reported this week that he is trying to mount a bid to return to the company.
Friday, October 05, 2018
Thursday, October 04, 2018
Wednesday, October 03, 2018
Tuesday, October 02, 2018
Monday, October 01, 2018
* To Judicially Review the decision of Westminster Magistrates to grant a license to Uber on the basis of conflict of interest and flawed reasoning.
* To hold Transport for London to account under multiple causes of action including its failure to regulate the statutory regime.
* To hold Uber to account under multiple causes of action including economic torts and the interference of the trade's exclusive right to ply for hire
The UTAG website is now live.
For more information, click on this link below.
Sunday, September 30, 2018
I'm going to start by thanking everyone who has been so supportive over the last 3 weeks since we embarked on this journey to bring a limb-b worker rights claim for taxi drivers who work on the MyTaxi App.
We have just over £800 to raise within the next 7 days - I reiterate the "we" because this employment case affects everyone, it affects me, taxi drivers, our children and our children's children - these corporate companies who operate Apps in every sector imaginable simply want to undermine the employment laws as set out by parliament and exploit ordinary working people for their own benefit - this cannot be right, and this is why I believe we must speak out.
I am so disappointed that the taxi trade organisations & unions have failed to support our efforts, one would think that protecting drivers working conditions would be high on the agenda of these organisations & unions, but alas, it seems not to be the case, so we must seek basic employment rights and worker protections alone.
None of this happens without your support, therefore, I'm humbled that you should be so kind with your pledges and overwhelmed by the messages of support.
I hear some of the concerns that have been rightly raised, and I will try to address some of the questions.
Q. Why do we want to lose our self-employed status?
A. A limb-b worker is a category of self-employed, therefore, as taxi drivers we won't lose our self- employed status, we simply gain worker status should we win.
Q. Would it damage "our" Apps [taxi apps]?
A. I’ll answer this with a question, by suspending and terminating drivers without giving any reason are MyTaxi damaging drivers’ livelihoods?
Q. Would MyTaxi be subject to VAT on the full taxi fare if I win an employment tribunal?
A. Potentially yes, but if MyTaxi were to win an employment tribunal it’d be unlikely that they are making the VATable supply, so they would need to argue really hard that they don't control the driver and they don't suspend or terminate drivers without reason - this is a very tricky argument for MyTaxi as I have been terminated without reason and so have many other drivers
Q. Would taxi drivers face additional costs (i.e. an increase in the procurement fee that is currently 10%)?
A. Doubtful, the employment tribunal regarding Uber determined that drivers are workers for all of the time the app is switched on and the driver is available (less the time the driver is unavailable because of other work). Therefore, if a driver has the app switched on for 10 hours per day then MyTaxi are potentially liable to pay drivers the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the drivers’ available hours plus expenses - If a driver isn't being paid the NMW now at the 10% MyTaxi procurement rate, drivers certainly wouldn't be paid NMW if MyTaxi increased their procurement fee.
In short, claims that MyTaxi could "jack up" their procurement fee to cover basic worker rights and NMW payments is scaremongering.
Q. Is it crazy to bring an employment tribunal claim for basic worker rights against MyTaxi?
A. No, I allege that I was terminated for blowing the whistle on public safety, what employment protections do taxi drivers currently have for unfair dismissal when working on the MyTaxi App?
Q. Does Daimler own MyTaxi?
A. My understanding is that Daimler invests heavily in MyTaxi and minicab apps Taxify, ViaVan and Blacklane – Taxify & ViaVan minicab drivers don’t have worker rights, but Uber drivers do – work that one out – why doesn’t Daimler grant worker rights to these minicab drivers or any associated companies?
• There is still another funding round to go as we need to raise £18k in total – but we have time on our side.
• I’m confident that collectively we can make MyTaxi and other app companies aware of their responsibilities to ordinary working people.
• Finally, protecting drivers livelihoods should be the responsibility of Orgs & Unions, not individual drivers.
Please feel free to ask any questions or concerns that you have on Twitter my account is: @InThePinkTaxi and I will endeavour to answer as best I can.
Once again, thank you for your continued support.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT :
Is this the future that Taxi drivers really want....working for a third party investor owned App company, boasting about how many minicabs they have on their app???
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Friday, September 28, 2018
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Uber and courier firms including CitySprint are to be called to give evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into gig economy companies that have continued to deny workers employment rights despite tribunal rulings.
Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee, is to see if changes to legislation and enforcement are needed to ensure workers have their legal employment rights.
The new inquiry comes after a string of tribunal rulings against companies, including Uber, eCourier and CitySprint, which ruled that couriers and taxi drivers should be classified as workers and be entitled to holiday pay and the minimum wage. The companies failed to deliver those rights across their workforce, and argued that their drivers and riders were self-employed contractors.
“The inquiry will, I hope, shine a bright light on the extent to which justice is being evaded in the gig economy,” said Field, who resigned the Labour whip late August. “We will be looking to suggest any immediate changes that are required, both to the law itself as well as its enforcement, to ensure no company is able to evade justice.”
The inquiry launches as Uber continues to fight a 2016 tribunal ruling that said its drivers were workers and not self employed. The latest round is expected to be heard at the court of appeal late in October. Since the tribunal ruling Uber has offered some improved conditions for UK drivers, including limited insurance, limits on working hours and a 24-hour phone line for support.
Uber has repeatedly insisted that most of its drivers wanted to retain the flexibility to choose their own hours. However, the firm continues to face criticism over conditions. Couriers working for its Uber Eats takeaway delivery service this week protested outside the company’s London head office over a change in pay structure, which they said left them out of pocket.
In November 2017 CitySprint was accused of making a mockery of Britain’s employment rights system after changing couriers’ contracts rather than giving them the minimum wage and holiday pay, despite losing an employment tribunal case on the issue.
In May 2017, eCourier, a subsidiary of Royal Mail specialising in same-day deliveries, admitted it had incorrectly classified a London-based bicycle courier as an independent contractor and had wrongly denied him standard employment benefits. The company immediately announced a review into how it could implement the same worker status “for colleagues where it reflects their actual working arrangements with us”.
Ian Oliver, chief executive of eCourier, said: “We did carry out a review of our fleet of drivers and identified a group who we felt could be ‘workers’. Accordingly we changed their contracts to provide benefits such as holiday pay. They were also offered a workplace pension.”
But the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said it was frustrated that there had been no sign of significant change. Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the union, which has been involved in a number of tribunal actions on workers’ status, said: “For a couple of years now we have been winning tribunal claims against courier and private hire companies. Yet despite this somehow these workers are still not getting the rights they’re entitled to. The enforcement system is clearly broken and this inquiry will shine a welcome spotlight on its abject failure.”
Field will be gathering evidence from individual workers, legal experts, enforcement specialists, trade unions and companies, with a view to publishing his findings alongside a series of recommendations before Christmas. The government’s director of labour market enforcement, Sir David Metcalf, will also be invited to contribute to the inquiry.
Source : The Guardian
Wednesday, September 26, 2018
London taxi drivers have commenced a JR of a court decision to allow Uber a licence.
The High Court action is based on a conflict, bias, apparent bias and flawed reasoning.
It seeks to quash the judgement which allowed Uber to operate for a further 15 months.
The action seeks a re-hearing with a newly constituted court.
It is the first part of a three-phase legal action which will include TfL and Uber.
Papers have been filed for a judicial review of the decision by Westminster Magistrate Court to give Uber permission to continue to operate despite the company admitting that it had repeatedly failed to conform to the law. The action is being bought by the United Cabbies Group (UCG) on behalf of the United Trade Action Group (UTAG).
It’s solicitors, Darren Roger of Chiltern Law, has instructed Robert Griffiths and Stuart Jessie if 6 Pump Court Chambers.
The claim which was filed Yesterday is based on the admission by the courts Chief Magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, that she was conflicted in the case. Last month The Guardian reported that her husband worked for one of Uber’s biggest investors. The revelation printed Ms Arbuthnot to rule herself out from future cases involving Uber.
“By admitting it was big enough to stop her hearing future cases, it shows that she had no right to sit in the case in which she gave Uber a green light” said Angie Clarkson of the United Trade Action Group.
The High Court action will challenge Ms Arbuthnot’s decision on the basis of actual and apparent bias. The claim will also look at the reasoning behind her decision to renew Uber’s licence for 15 months. It will argue that the extension resulted from unreasonable implausible and illogical reasoning.
It will also highlight how the judge made no finding that Uber was a “fit and proper person” according to the legislation. Despite this, she still granted the licence.
The claim is the start of a series of legal actions which will challenge Uber’s business model and commercial practices as well as the failure of TfL to effectively regulate them.
“The legal storm clouds are gathering over Uber. It’s reckless approach to the law is finally catching up with it” said Trevor Merralls of the United Cabbies Group.
TAXI LEAKS EXTRA BIT : by Lenny Etheridge.
A dozen or so tried and trusted proactive Taxi drivers attended a United trade meeting yesterday, all came away with big smiles and a positive spring in their step.
This is the big one, the one Taxi drivers on social media, around tea stalls, in greasy spoons and sat in cab shelters have been calling for and dreaming about.
Monday, September 24, 2018
The judge has also ordered TfL pay Westminster Council’s legal fees. They must agree a figure or pay £50,000 within 14 days of the order, which was made today.
Campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui, who was a named party in the judicial review proceedings, told the Ham&High: "Have TfL learned nothing – rather than reading and absorbing the comprehensive defeat from last week, reviewing their processes and learning from the judge’s criticisms, TfL just went for an appeal. How clear does the judge have to be about his decision?"
A TfL spokesperson called the judge’s decision "procedural". They said: "We can still apply to appeal at the Court of Appeal, and we remain in discussions with Westminster regarding payment of legal fees."
Source : http://www.hamhigh.co.uk