Economy

Uber drivers eye IPO riches; call for strike in US, UK

Uber drivers eye IPO riches; call for strike in US, UK

In the United Kingdom, the Independent Workers Union said some Uber drivers are observing a nine-hour boycott.

But the IPO won't be life-changing for most drivers, whom Uber insists are independent contractors, not employees.

Strikes are scheduled for Wednesday in major USA cities, as well as parts of the United Kingdom, Australia and South America.

The company also noted inits S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it funneled $300 million back to some 1.1 million longtime drivers via an appreciation program in late April. Today, he will join thousands of fellow drivers in an worldwide boycott of the taxi app in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions.

In New York, as many as 10,000 drivers are joining a two-hour morning commute work stoppage, organizers with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance said. The two-hour strike is set to occur around the world on Wednesday within several major cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. A driver whose average star rating falls too low gets automatically terminated from the platform.

An organizer of the NY rally told the crowd that the driver mobilization was an "uphill battle", responding to a question about why there was not a bigger impact on the service.

"The first globally coordinated day of action against Uber is to send a loud and clear message that drivers have had enough", Uber driver Rebecca Stack told Gizmodo. They have also devised more complicated formulas for determining what riders pay and what drivers earn.

The companies disputed the findings, which are based on a limited sample size of self-selected drivers and rides. Uber is expected to be listed on the NYSE in the coming few days.

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Lyft said Tuesday its loss in the past quarter widened to $1.1 billion in the ride-hailing giant's first financial report as a public company, as it announced it was teaming up with former Google vehicle unit Waymo on autonomous taxis.

Uber did not respond to Al Jazeera's request for comment but, in a statement to United States media, a representative for the company said: "Whether it's more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we'll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers".

Along with declining wages and no worker protections, rideshare drivers are complaining about the lack of healthcare and paid time off.

Revenues almost doubled in the quarter ended in March but Lyft forecast growth would slow in its first results as a public company.

"This is an act of solidarity with drivers across the country, and really across the world, who are suffering with poverty wages", said NYTWA executive director Bhairavi Desai.

"Oftentimes I get 80 percent ..." "There is a lot of hype around Uber and the gig economy". But that number is certainly in dispute: According to an analysis from the think tank Economic Policy Institute, the actual wage drivers take home is much less.

And with Lyft recently going public, and Uber planning on doing the same, the problem has come to a head.

"Uber continues to invest heavily in the well being of drivers and their families", the spokesman said, adding it was helping them access life and health insurance, as well as loans. As the company pitched itself to investors, protesters attempted to picket the company's roadshow, and drivers went on strike in San Diego and Los Angeles.


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