LONDON — Uber has shot back against a deluge of bad news in London with a new poll that says that nine in 10 of its British drivers are either “very” or “somewhat” satisfied driving for the Californian transportation firm.
Polling firm ORB surveyed 1,000 current Uber drivers from across the UK for the company, and found that 94% of drivers said they “joined Uber because I wanted to be my own boss and choose my own hours,” and that 88% say “Uber has improved things for drivers” over the last year.
Meanwhile, 89% of drivers would “recommend driving with Uber to others interested in driving.”
The new data will be used to help bolster Uber’s case as it faces challenges on multiple fronts in the UK.
On Friday, London transport regulator TfL (Transport for London) declined to renew Uber’s licence to operate in the city, saying it was not “fit and proper” to hold one. The move has placed its 40,000 drivers in the British capital in jeopardy, and Uber is appealing the decision. (It will be allowed to continue to operate in London until the appeals process is complete.)
And on Wednesday, Uber is appealing a landmark ruling that its drivers should be considered workers rather than self-employed independent contractors, as Uber maintains they are, and should be entitled to additional benefits like sick pay and the minimum wage.
According to the ORB poll, 80% of drivers said they would rather be an independent contractor than a worker or employee.
When the employment tribunal ruled against Uber in October 2016, however, it was scathing about how the firm categorised its drivers, saying that “the absurdity of these propositions [Uber’s arguments on the contract between drivers and passengers] speaks for itself” and “the the supposed driver/passenger contract is a pure fiction which bears no relation to the real dealings and relationships between the parties.”
In a statement, ORB International managing director Johnny Heald said: “While Uber has been in the headlines for the past few days, we’ve heard little about the 40,000 drivers who could be impacted by the licence refusal. Our poll shows that four in five drivers rely on Uber as their main source of income. They also value the flexibility of choosing when and where they drive. When asked whether they’d prefer to remain self-employed or become a worker or employee of Uber, the overwhelming majority want to continue being their own boss.”
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