US Uber drivers plan 12-hour shutdown over pay and conditions

Uber drivers in seven US cities are planning protests to highlight what they claim are poor working conditions and low wages at the ride-hailing firm.

The drivers say they are paid below minimum wage levels required by some states and barely above national rates.

For 12 hours, the drivers involved in the protests plan to turn off the Uber app and stop working for the ride-hailing firm.

The protests will take place on 8 May when Uber makes its stock market debut.

Cash levy

"Uber`s much-anticipated IPO [initial public offering] will put millions into the pockets of executives, but the drivers who are the core of the service of the company will get nothing," Shona Clarkson from Gig Workers Rising, which is helping to organise the protests, told The Guardian.

Gig Workers Rising is believed to have 4,000 drivers among its members.

The drivers involved in the protests have four demands:

higher wages

clearer policies on wages, tips, how fares are shared and disciplinary action

employee benefits such as health care, disability payments and holiday pay

recognition and representation for drivers in Uber`s management structure

Drivers would continue to be exploited if they did not get more protections, said Ms Clarkson.

A letter has been delivered to Uber`s headquarters detailing the drivers` demands and warning it of the shutdown.

In the letter, drivers expressed fears that pay rates would be cut after the IPO as the company sought to make itself more "palatable" to investors.

Publicly available figures suggest that Uber and Lyft drivers are paid $8.55 (£6.87) an hour in the US. This is higher than the national mandated minimum wage level of $7.25, but less than rates set by some states. In California the minimum wage rates for drivers is $11.

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