Uber, Lyft & other ride-hailing co. drivers stage global strike over pay & working conditions

In May 2019, Uber drivers went on strike in the UK, US and other countries, including Brazil and Australia, to demand better pay and working conditions ahead of the ride-hailing app’s flotation on the stock market.

The protests took place in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow as well as 10 US cities, including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, and in other countries. In the US, strikers were also joined by drivers from other ride-hailing apps including Lyft, Juno and Via. 

In the UK, protests were organised by the Independent Workers of Great Britain union. Its calls include an increase in fares per mile; a cut in the commission paid by drivers to Uber; employment status for drivers which means they get paid the minimum wage and receive holiday and sick pay; and an end to unfair dismissals. In New York, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance calls included job security, livable incomes and cuts to the companies' commission on fares.

The articles below contain comments by Uber and Lyft, who have both said they will continue to work to improve the experience of drivers. 

Business & Human Rights Centre invited Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via to respond to the striking drivers concerns over poor wages and working conditions. None of the companies responded. 

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All components of this story

Company non-response
21 May 2019

Juno did not respond

Author: Juno

Company non-response
21 May 2019

Lyft did not respond

Author: Lyft

Company non-response
21 May 2019

Uber did not respond

Author: Uber

Company non-response
21 May 2019

Via did not respond

Author: Via

Article
8 May 2019

Uber & Lyft respond to global driver strikes

Author: Graham Rapier, Business Insider

"Uber and Lyft drivers explain why they are striking", 8 May 2019

  • Uber and Lyft drivers around the world participated in coordinated protests and strikes Wednesday.
  • Many drivers have complained of falling pay and a lack of transparency from the companies.
  • Business Insider has spoken with dozens of drivers to find out their biggest frustrations with the platforms and why they are striking...

Ahead of the demonstrations, both Uber and Lyft acknowledged that drivers were the most important element of their businesses. Here's Uber's statement: "Drivers are at the heart of our service ─ we can't succeed without them ─ and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road. 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."

And Lyft: "Lyft drivers' hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, and they have earned more than $10B on the Lyft platform. Over 75% drive less than 10 hours a week to supplement their existing jobs. On average, Lyft drivers earn over $20 per hour. We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we're constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community."...

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Article
8 May 2019

UK: Uber drivers strike over poor pay & working conditions

Author: Julia Kollewe, The Guardian

"Uber drivers strike over pay and conditions", 8 May 2019

ber drivers have gone on strike in the UK, US and other countries including Brazil and Australia to demand better pay and conditions ahead of the ride-hailing app’s stock market debut...

The protests took place in London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow as well as 10 US cities, including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC, and in other countries. In the US, strikers were also joined by drivers from industry rival Lyft...

The London protests were organised by the Independent Workers of Great Britain union. The union demands an increase in fares to £2 per mile from £1.25; a cut in the commission paid by drivers to Uber from 25% to 15%; employment status for drivers which means they get paid the minimum wage and receive holiday and sick pay; and an end to unfair dismissals.

Drivers told the Guardian that when Uber cuts them off the app in response to customer complaints, there is no way for them to appeal...

Analysis by the union suggests Uber drivers in the UK earn £5 an hour on average, well below the legal minimum wage of £8.21 for those over 25. Uber says an Oxford University study found the average driver in London makes more than £11 per hour after costs, including Uber’s service fee...

Uber said it had made a number of improvements in benefits, including providing free insurance and telephone support for “qualifying drivers”. About 1.1 million drivers are set to share in a $300m payout relating to the flotation...

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Article
8 May 2019

US: Uber, Lyft & other drivers call on passengers to boycott ride-hailing apps

Author: Laurel Wamsley, NPR

"Uber And Lyft Drivers Are Striking — And Call On Passengers To Boycott", 8 May 2019

... [D]rivers for Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies went on strike Wednesday, turning off the apps as they flex their collective muscles...

Drivers in 10 cities across the country took action... to draw attention to what they say are decreasing wages for drivers and a distressing lack of job security — and some are calling on passengers to temporarily boycott the ride-hailing services, too.

In San Francisco, protesters swarmed... where Uber's offices are located, shutting it down during midday traffic... In the LA metro area, the strike was planned to last for 24 hours... The New York Taxi Workers' Alliance called for a rush hour strike, during which drivers will turn off the Uber, Lyft, Juno and Via apps... and then rally outside Uber and Lyft headquarters in Long Island City...

In a statement... Uber said drivers "are at the heart of our service — we can't succeed without them — and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better... 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."...

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Article
3 May 2019

US: Uber, Lyft & other app drivers list demands ahead of strike

Author: New York Taxi Workers Alliance

"BREAKING: NYC Uber & Lyft drivers to STRIKE May 8th!", 3 May 2019

On Wednesday, May 8, 2019... New York City app drivers will be going on strike. NYTWA's app driver members voted to log off on Wednesday morning to join the international day of driver strikes ahead of Uber's IPO. Drivers from Los Angeles to Philadelphia are striking in United States, drivers in London are making it global, and now drivers in NYC, Uber's biggest market, are joining in solidarity. 

NYC app driver demands include: 

  • Job security - end unfair deactivations that force drivers to live in fear of losing their livelihoods

  • Livable incomes - winning the cap and the minimum pay rate was just the first step. We demand an end to the scam of upfront pricing. 

  • Regulate the fare Uber/Lyft/Juno/Via charge passengers, and cap the companies' commission, guaranteeing 80-85% of the fare to the driver

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