A group representing British Uber drivers is targeting Uber’s corporate clients in London in protest at its labour practices.
On Wednesday, a few dozen drivers protested at Salesforce’s offices in London — and the group that organised it says more demonstrations are on the way.
Uber driver working conditions have been in the spotlight over the last few months, following a ruling by a London tribunal that Uber’s drivers are “workers,” and should be entitled to benefits like sick pay and a minimum wage.
Uber is appealing the ruling, arguing the vast majority of its drivers are happy with their current self-employed status. Uber declined to comment on the protests on the record.
The case was brought against Uber by GMB, a union, and two drivers — James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam. Farrar and Aslam are also cofounders of United Private Hire Drivers (UPHD), a group that represents Uber drivers, and organised Wednesday’s protest. (UPHD isn’t yet a formal union, although it is considering becoming one.)
The protest took place at the Heron Tower in East London, Salesforce’s British headquarters. Farrar said around 40 drivers attended (City AM’s Lynsey Barber estimated between 25 and 30), waving banners and signs in the lobby and outside the building.
The intention was to highlight Uber drivers’ working conditions, with further protests planned for other companies who are corporate customers of Uber in the new year. “If you’ve got a sustainable supply chain policy, and you use Uber for corporate travel, we’re going to be asking you questions about that,” Farrar told Business Insider. (He declined to say who else would be targeted.)
The protesters also cited a highly critical report by Labour MP Frank Field accusing Uber of treating its workers as Victorian sweatshop-style labour.
A source close to Uber said: “It’s surprising that a group claiming to represent private hire drivers is trying to reduce the number of trips for other drivers in the city.”
The Salesforce protest came after one at City Hall earlier in the day. And in November, UPHD organised a demonstration in central London aimed at mayor Sadiq Khan, with drivers driving slowly through Westminster in protest at low wages.
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