This must end, says drivers’ union on Uber leaks

Calls for governments to hold Uber and similar companies accountable

July 14, 2022 02:07 am | Updated 02:07 am IST - New Delhi:

Uber’s rapid expansion leaned on subsidized drivers and discounted fares that undercut the taxi industry.

Uber’s rapid expansion leaned on subsidized drivers and discounted fares that undercut the taxi industry. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Reacting to the global leaks pertaining to alleged illegal and unfair practices of ride-hailing service Uber, the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers on July 13 issued a statement, calling for the company to be held accountable and demanding strict action against "a company that broke laws intentionally, put lives at risk through flagrant disregard for safety to drivers and passengers, and continues to operate in dangerous and callous ways".

Shaik Salauddin, the national general secretary of the union, which is also affiliated to the International Alliance of App-based Transport Workers, said, "I am not shocked... I experienced that every day... If there is anything I feel on reading all the details it is simply that I am also now appalled by the number of people who participated and continued to participate in this criminal violation of the rights of workers and ordinary people."

Mr. Salauddin, who is also the India-affiliate Board Member of IAATW, said, "We expect Uber to keep sugar-coating its image, but actors in government, universities, the labour movement, and think-tanks are just as culpable. This must end."

Leaked to The Guardian

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists had this week reported on a large tranche of internal memos and emails of top officials at Uber, leaked to The Guardian by a lobbyist who worked for the tech company in several countries. The cab-hailing service had responded to the findings in these leaks by saying that they had changed how they operate as a company in recent times.

The IFAT statement alleged Uber still operated "by breaking laws, risking lives of drivers & passengers, all to win market share".

It added, "Uber has long tried to say we are not the Uber of the early days, but even a cursory examination of what Uber is currently doing to its drivers makes it clear that it continues practices meant to brutally exploit drivers at sub-minimum level wages and unsafe working conditions."

The union added that such practices by Uber had caused "irreparable damage" to urban transportation systems and urban economies by "ripping off drivers and passengers, operating outside of the law". It called for governments across the world to “appoint commissions of inquiry, hold Congressional / Parliamentary hearings, constitute committees of elected representatives and execute other instructional methods to hold Uber and other app companies accountable”.

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