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Uber drivers strike across U.S., demand fair pay

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 9, 2019 - Duration: 01:46s

Uber drivers strike across U.S., demand fair pay

Uber drivers in London and New York started a day of strikes on Wednesday to protest the disparity between gig-economy conditions and the sums that investors are likely to make in Friday’s blockbuster stock market debut.

Jillian Kitchener reports.

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Uber drivers strike across U.S., demand fair pay

Scores of Uber drivers in the U.S. and UK went on strike, Wednesday -- protesting what they call low pay.

(SOUNDBITE) DRIVER ON STRIKE, INDER PARMAR, SAYING: “When I’m in a car for 12 hours but I make only 10 dollars an hour minus my expenses, I literally go home with zero dollars.” Inder Parmar stood with the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.

(SOUNDBITE) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NY TAXI WORKERS ALLIANCE, BHAIRAVI DESAI, SAYING: “So, our demands for today are, drivers should have a guarantee of 80-85 percent of the fare.

No more upfront pricing where drivers are cut out of the fare revenue and we want an end to deactivations without any notice or just cause.” Strikes are also planned in 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, 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: "...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 more than a million drivers a one-time bonus up to $10,000.

Plus - 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… one that leaves Uber workers without paid sick days or holidays.

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