Uber drivers across the world go on strike in hopes of fair treatment

Aidan Fitzpatrick/Groningen May 2019

Uber and other car share drivers around the world are going on strike and planning other work actions to protest Uber’s Friday IPO. An Initial Public Offering where the company will seek to raise $9 billion in cash from investors. The drivers protest in hopes of receiving better compensation and regulation of ride sharing apps like in New York City. Protests were scheduled in at least 14 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and Glasgow. Organizing groups have encouraged consumers to join in their movement by not requesting rides. “This is not fair; something has to change,” Karim Bayumi, a Los Angeles Uber driver, said in a video posted on Twitter. “What’s the point of flexibility if you have to work so much more, without getting paid more or overtime?”

51-year-old Bay Area Lyft driver Steve Gregg told Vice News, “I drive until I’m exhausted every day,” Gregg said. “I don’t feel like it’s safe. I occasionally work 12-hour days. I get so tired. You just can’t. I’m not going to risk it.” Gregg echoed the voices of struggling drivers worldwide who just want to be treated
fairly for their immense service. It is important to remember that these drivers are hard working individuals with families to feed. “I don’t have time for my children. I spend three or four hours a week with my children,” he added. Los Angeles leads the way for this international protest, with drivers stopping service to protest for a 24 hour protest at LAX Airport.

Uber driver protests in Los Angeles (Vice News)

These protests are the result of a long run of struggles for ride share drivers and cabbies everywhere. The protests align with a rise in New York cab driver suicides in 2018. A crisis that is in part the result of
failed efforts to compete with Uber and other car sharing services. However, both cab drivers and car share drivers look to be in the struggle together. “We call on drivers across the globe to show Uber and Lyft the power of our unity. We call on workers everywhere to stand in solidarity with our struggle”, read a joint statement from the New York Taxi Worker’s Alliance.

In a statement to Vox News, an Uber spokesperson stated that, “Drivers are at the heart of our service we can’t succeed without them–and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road.”