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New York Times Article - Good one

Discussion in 'Melbourne | Uber Drivers Forum' started by DriverX, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. DriverX

    DriverX Active Member

    The New York Times

    Uber Drivers, United Against Uber

    Travis Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, apologized on Twitter for comments by a senior vice president of the company.CreditRichard Perry/The New York Times
    Uber, the ride-hailing company that can’t seem to get out of its own way, has a fresh battle on its smartphone-clutching hands.

    Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman has announced an investigation, which will focus on whether Uber is in violation of Australian workplace rules.

    Local drivers are making a push to be classified as employees, which would entitle them to full benefits, like sick days and superannuation. Currently, Uber classifies its drivers as subcontractors.

    For years, the company has been achingly familiar with scandal. It’s had the unscrupulous inner workings of its culture peeled back and revealed, over and over again. There have been accusations of institutional sexism and bullying. Deceit and evasion of local government and authorities. Underpayment of drivers. Through all of this, while in the eye of the storm, the company has continually made unforced errors, which culminated in the recent ousting of Travis Kalanick, the chief executive and co-founder.

    So, what do Australian drivers want — and why? RideShare Drivers United, an Australian-American driver advocacy group, wants Australian Uber drivers to be classified as employees, rather than subcontractors. The group says that “real subcontractors” would have far more ability to control and grow their business: Think directly negotiating prices with customers, asking for the destination before having to drive out to a customer and picking up people hailing on the street.

    “More than 60,000 Australian driver-partners choose to drive using the Uber app because they like setting their own schedule and being their own boss,” Uber said in a statement emailed to Reuters when the news broke.

    “Drivers don’t get any superannuation. No holidays, no sick days, you have to work every day of every week. Most full-time drivers will tell you, they can’t even take a few days off,” said Max, RideShare Drivers United’s Melbourne-based founder. Over the phone, he told The New York Times that he needed to conceal his full name: “I’m a full-time driver — they’ll fire me on the spot.”

    Similar battles over employee classification have unfolded in the United States, Britain and Canada.

    Max said that being classified as casual employees would allow Australian drivers to bring a living wage home, even if it were the minimum wage.

    “Either they pay us well — let us run a business, pay us like subcontractors — or pay us minimum wage,” Max said. “They’re trying to have it both ways.”

    [Published at 11:34 a.m. AEST]

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