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Uber drivers strike in U.S. and UK as IPO looms

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 8, 2019 - Duration: 01:48s

Uber drivers strike in U.S. and UK as IPO looms

Just a day before its planned IPO, some Uber drivers in the U.S. and UK plan to strike Wednesday in protest at what they say is poor pay and conditions.

Ryan Brooks reports.

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Uber drivers strike in U.S. and UK as IPO looms

Some Uber drivers in the U.S. and UK go on strike Wednesday (May 8).

They're protesting what they call low pay.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) UBER DRIVER, ESTERPHANIE ST.

JUSTE, 54-YEARS-OLD, SAYING: "Well now I haven't had a day off since January because I can't afford to have a day off." Los Angeles driver Esterphanie St Juste is an organiser of the stoppage there.

In the U.S. action is also planned in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

Rival Lyft may also be affected.

But the timing is most awkward for Uber.

The firm due to launch its initial public offering on Thursday (May 9), valuing it at up to 90 billion dollars.

Uber drivers say the firm's success is built on paying them ever less: (SOUNDBITE) (English) UBER DRIVER, ESTERPHANIE ST.

JUSTE, 54 YEARS OLD, SAYING: "First of all it is about the pay because the government needs to step in to regulate Uber because I am now making...I think my first year I made $70,000 and this year it will be less than $50,000.

And that doesn't even cover the expenses of a car, gasoline as well you know we are paying like $4-5 a gallon (3.8 litters) now." Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has promised to treat drivers better.

He's agreed to pay them about 300 million dollars in a one-time bonus.

Uber also now allows riders to give tips.

But the company has beaten back attempts to make it treat drivers like employees.

It says it's just a platform that brings them together with riders.

That leaves Uber workers without paid sick days or holidays.

It's not clear how much impact Wednesday's strike will have though.

Uber has three million drivers around the world, and there's no indication how many will stop work.

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