A PETITION with at least 100,000 signatures is demanding that Uber should only have its licence renewed if it limits drivers’ working hours and also guarantees them specific rights.
The five-year licence for the smartphone app-based taxi company to operate in London expires this month.
GMB has called on Transport for London (TfL) to force Uber into heeding safe working practices and paying its “self-employed” drivers at least the minimum wage and holiday pay.
The union is calling on TfL to ensure, as a condition of the licence, that the public is not put in jeopardy by Uber drivers working long hours to earn a decent wage.
It says that limits on long hours were brought in after excessive hours were identified as the cause of the 1988 Clapham Junction rail disaster, in which 35 people died.
GMB London regional officer Mick Lancaster said: “TfL has a right and responsibility to put the brakes on Uber’s recklessness and could send an important signal to other ‘gig economy’ corporations and city authorities around the world.
“TfL should insist that Uber recognise that the Working Time Directive and limits on long hours are not ‘red tape’ but essential for the safety of the travelling public.”
The petition was handed to TfL yesterday by GMB and consumer group SumOfUs.
GMB official Steve Garelick said this is an “unprecedented opportunity for TfL to show some muscle.”
An Uber spokesman claimed that drivers using the app took home “well over the national minimum wage” after service fees and costs.
He added: “With Uber, drivers are totally free to choose if, when and where they drive with no shifts or minimum hours.
“We know drivers want more security too, which is why we’ve invested in discounted illness and injury cover alongside improvements like paid waiting time.”