THE GMB general union is preparing a legal action against Transport for London (TfL) for failing in their obligations to all London transport users by not forcing the taxi company Uber to adopt safe working practices.
The union, which represents many private hire drivers, wants TfL to force Uber to guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights, such as minimum wage and holiday pay, before they renew the five-year licence on 31st May this year.
The GMB has written to TfL outlining their statutory responsibility to ensure the safety of both the public and private hire drivers in London.
Uber’s current business model necessitates drivers to work excessive hours and TfL must impose conditions to secure the health and safety of drivers, passengers and other road users before the renewal of Uber’s Private Hire Vehicle operator’s licence.
The letter from GMB states that for TfL to properly and lawfully discharge its statutory obligations it must make sure that Uber:
· limit and enforce maximum, daily, weekly and annual hours a driver is permitted to work in London;
· limit the number of drivers permitted by Uber to work within London;
· ensure Uber drivers in London are paid a minimum guaranteed income.
In October of last year, GMB won a ground-breaking victory against Uber. The ruling of the court means that drivers are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage and holiday pay amongst other benefits.
This landmark case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales, and Uber are currently contesting the decision in the employment appeal tribunal.
Warren Kenny, GMB regional secretary for London Region, said: "GMB stand[s] at the forefront of ensuring a fair balance between the respective rights of employers and workers in the logistics and private hire transport sector.
“We want to remind TfL of their obligations to all London transport users and not just to powerful lobbyists at Uber, and hope they will decide to impose the reasonable conditions we have requested to Uber’s licence."
Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: "We have widespread evidence of a culture of excessive hours being driven by workers frequently being paid below the living wage as they try to make ends meet.“We hope TfL will take their responsibilities as a transport regulator as seriously.