Is Uber an Example of Innovation, or Just Another Way to Pay Workers Less?

Uber uses technology to displace workers who may have little access to other jobs, and as a result makes labor and, ultimately the cost of a ride cheaper. The customer seeing the savings consider the lower cost and convenience an innovation, while the driver on the wrong end of disruption fight the change.

Uber, whose whole business model depends on low-cost labor, seeks to drive down labor costs even further using more technology like self-driving cars.

Consumers hail lower transportation costs as an example of innovation, while anger among drivers for being underpaid continues to grow.

This cycle is all too familiar and present a real and clear danger to the way of life in Australia, creating sub class of underpaid workers and increase in poverty. Australia is a country well known for protecting worker rights and employment entitlements and for a very good reason! There are fair work laws in place to protect the rights of even casual workers. Why is the “Ride Share” industry being overlooked?

If we want an economy that works for everyone, we must accept the fact that at some point we will have to pay more for the goods and services we use. Ride Share should be no exception.

Uber’s is not really offering a cheaper alternative to other hire cars or taxis because they built something truly innovative—they just reallocated labor expenses to a cheaper source and, in many instances, flout the legal and regulatory requirements of the communities the company operates in.

If, for example, a shoe manufacturer shifted its workforce to a country with lower wages and used technology specifically designed to avoid legal authorities, we wouldn’t call it innovation.

We might call it exploitation.

But if it’s a tech company, I guess there is a different standard.

RSDU therefore asks our Governments to pay very careful attention to driver’s minimum wage, working conditions and classification, well before finalising the legislation of the Ride Share industry in Australia.



RSDU is committed to helping RideShare drivers from all around the world. Please contact us should you wish to start getting organised and start a collective action in your home country/state.


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