Uber strikers in Leeds co-ordinate action with London drivers

To chants of “What do we want? Fare increase” Uber drivers protested outside the company’s office in Burley in Leeds, whose shutters had slammed down as soon as around 100 striking drivers marched down to it.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Drivers were angry that whilst other areas had uplifted in pay rates over the last year, Leeds and West Yorkshire hadn’t had one, all the while fuel prices had been soaring along with the cost of living.

One driver explained a job they had taking a passenger to Barnsley last recently, for which they got around 21 quid. But £18 that goes immediately on expenses such as petrol and wear and tear, so they’d effectively been paid just £3 for that journey of around an hour!

Drivers were also angry about some drivers being flagged for summary dismissal by automated means without any due process of investigation, appeal and representation.

The strike and protest had been organised to coincide with a strike of Uber drivers in London organised by the recently formed App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU). The protest in Leeds was called by some local members of ADCU in conjunction with the Leeds Private Hire Drivers Organisation (LPHDO) who had organised recent strikes and protests in Leeds over council licensing policies.

At the protest there was a lot of debate about what tactics were necessary to force Uber to address the issues drivers were raising. There were frustrations expressed about the strike and protest only having been announced a few days before with some drivers attending the protest only having found out the night before.

I was able to speak and bring solidarity from the Socialist Party to the strikers, emphasising that like many other workers drivers were finding that they needed to get organised and take part in strike action if they were to get bosses to pay them more to keep up with the cost of living.

As Zahid from the LPHDO said ” We all need to take the day off together. If all of us aren’t working then Uber doesn’t make any money.”

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