Update: Our FWO meeting and recent letter to Uber’s GM in Victoria [16/6/2017]

Representatives of the RSDU have met with members of the Fair Work Ombudsman earlier this month. We had a long and (hopefully) productive meeting. We are currently in the process of submitting relevant information, highlighting the sharp contrast current Uber driver working conditions have to Australian fair work laws and standards.

We feel it is absolutely essential that drivers in the ride share industry (on all platforms) should be classified as casual workers by default and compensated according to law, unless proven otherwise by employer.

To be classified as real subcontractors, drivers must have more control and ability to grow their business, directly negotiate service prices with customers, ask for the destination before having to drive to the pick up location, be permitted to hail street rides, issue invoices and most importantly be able to scrutinize the Uber booking system and its various performance and earning metrics. Uber currently does  it all “on behalf of drivers” while drivers have absolutely no say over any of these important business decisions/functions, in what appears to be a classic “sham contracting” arrangement.

Update 23/6/2017:  The Fair Work Ombudsman has now launched an official investigation into Uber suspected wage fraud and drivers miss classification. Drivers who wish to take part in this investigation please click here and fill out the form. Your information will be passed on to Fair Work and you may be contacted by them to organise for a recorded interview. Please only apply if you’ve been driving for Uber for a year or more and drive on average 35 hours per week or more.

 

Our letter to Uber’s general manager in Victoria this week

RSDU has sent  another letter this week to Uber’s GM in Victoria requesting Uber to increase fares to sustainable levels, letter has been confirmed received. This follows Uber’s recent announcements boasting about “listening to drivers”, “drivers enhancements” including a “minimum fare increase”.

Drivers have been complaining to Uber for more than a year now about unsustainable base rates. Uber’s latest round of “drivers enhancements” did almost nothing to address their concerns. Most drivers we talked to view Uber’s recent minimum fare increase and fuel minor discounts as an insult.

Fact remains, it costs a driver about 70 cents per kilometer to run a private vehicle in Victoria, this is according to independent research done by a number of motoring groups like RACV, RACQ, RAA etc. freely available online.

Uber’s current gross base rates (since April 2016) are about $1.38 per kilometer on average. Drivers then need to pay 10% GST and 25% in commission to Uber. The figures quoted in the above mentioned research are for privately used vehicles. Uber drivers don’t get paid to drive to the passenger pick up location which brings their cost of running a vehicle (driving more than 30 hours per week) much higher, well within 80 cents per kilometer range, clearly leaving the driver in negative territory, losing money!

Therefore it is the RSDU’s view that Uber’s latest round of “driver enhancements” was just media and public PR stunt. Uber still has a very long way to go before it meets drivers’ basic demands like fair pay and working conditions.

We strongly feel that Uber insistence on building a business based on exploiting drivers is bad for Uber, bad for drivers, bad for the ridesharing industry in general and ultimately bad for this country as it will slowly create more and more poverty. The model Uber are adopting is akin to “predatory pricing” ensuring no viable competitors can survive while Uber drivers are set (by Uber) to carry all the burden with no say on the matter. This is in sharp contrast to Uber’s claims of drivers being sub-contracted “partners”.

The first rule to determining a sub-contractor from an employee is to examine contractor’s ability to negotiate and have a say over fare pricing. The RSDU has documented evidence of drivers complaining about fare prices and requesting them to be increased for more than a year now but being ignored by Uber time and time again. We’ve also talked to drivers attending some of Uber’s so called “roundtable partner meetings” and heard of drivers being firmly steered away from discussing base fare pricing and asked to discuss the app functionality only, proving once more that Uber’s so claimed “partner round table meetings” are nothing but a charade and media lip service. The RSDU intends to present such evidence in due course.

RSDU’s list of demands was made very public and communicated to Uber via most media outlets in this country since 27 February of this year, yet we received no reply to date.

We make all communication with Uber available for members’ and public viewing. Please see below copy of RSDU’s latest letter to Uber’s new General Manager in Victoria.

We await Uber’s response.

Copy of our recent  letter to Uber’s general manager in Victoria,  14th June 2017 is included below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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