I know first hand from Uber drivers that they like working for the company but that their ever-worsening pay and conditions are pushing them into poverty. I’ve heard the story of one driver who worked 234 hours in August and was paid barely £5 per hour net, well below the national living wage and even further below the London Living Wage. For each hour he worked he paid more than a third of what he earned to Uber. This is not the kind of exploitation we expect from a 21st century company that prides itself on being at the cutting edge.
It stands to reason that low incomes mean long hours which translate into an increased safety risk for drivers, passengers and other road-users. I’m afraid that Uber’s latest move, to increase the commission that drivers are required to pay from 20 percent to 25 percent, will make a bad situation worse. That’s why I back this protest by GMB members who want Uber to be successful but believe that this means giving drivers a fairer deal.
Sian Berry is a former principal speaker of the Green Party. She previously stood as the party’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2008. She is also head of the Green Party’s list of candidates for the London Assembly.