Julia Irvine 16 May 2017 11:36am

GMB threatens TfL with legal action over Uber

Taxi driver union GMB has warned Transport for London (TfL) that it could face legal action if it renews Uber’s five-year licence without ensuring that the taxi company guarantees safe working practices and basic employment rights

The union has written to TfL pointing out its statutory responsibility to make sure that the public and private hire drivers in London are kept safe.

“We have widespread evidence of a culture of excessive hours being driven by workers frequently being paid below the living wage as they try to make ends meet,” said GMB legal director Maria Ludkin.

“We hope TfL will take their responsibilities as a transport regulator as seriously as the employment courts have when reviewing Uber’s practices and procedures.”

Last October, GMB won a significant victory against Uber in the London Central Employment Tribunal on behalf of 19 of the company’s taxi drivers.

The tribunal decided that the drivers are not self-employed but workers who are entitled to essential workers’ rights, including the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage and to receive paid holiday. Uber is appealing against that decision in the employment Appeal Tribunal.

GMB says that it will take legal action against TfL if it does not make sure that Uber limits and enforces maximum daily, weekly and annual hours a driver is permitted to work in London, limit the number of drivers allowed to work in London and ensure that they are paid a minimum guaranteed income.

“We want to remind TfL of their obligations to all London transport users and not just to powerful lobbyists at Uber, and hope they will decide to impose the reasonable conditions we have requested to Uber’s licence,” said Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary London region.

Uber’s licence runs out on 31 May.