Uber Australia Under Investigation For Alleged Dodgy Driver Conditions

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The Fair Work Ombudsmen is currently looking at Uber's workplace relations practices to see if the ride sharing company is complying with Australian law for its drivers.

The investigation was confirmed by the Fair Work Ombudsmen to Business Insider on Wednesday evening.

Uber drivers in Australia, or "partner drivers" are contractors as opposed to employees, but - unlike regular contractors under Australian law - are not able to negotiate working conditions or pay. A number of ride-sharing associations have spoken out against the treatment, and RideShare Drivers United are urging drivers to come forward and give evidence to the Ombudsmen.

Members of the lobby group met with staff from the Ombudsman's office in Melbourne two weeks ago, and an investigation was launched this month after months of campaigning.

"The RSDU has more than 1000 registered members all over the country and as you know drivers are not happy," a spojesperson for RSDU said. "We are wrongly being classified as contractors while drivers cannot really grow their business, don't have access to customers, have no say over the fare pricing. [Uber] classify drivers as self-employed just so they can underpay workers and flood the streets with drivers. The workforce is cheap when one doesn’t have to pay fair work entitlements," said a RSDU spokesman.

RSDU says it's not good for the country and will create a lot more poverty, calling the profit UberX drivers take home "ridiculous."

"More than 60,000 Australian driver-partners choose to drive using the Uber app because they like to set their own schedule and be their own boss," A spokesperson from Uber said in a statement. "We will be happy to assist the Fair Work Ombudsman with any questions they may have."

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Comments

    I don't know the details of these things but aren't a lot of the issues that the drivers are facing shared by taxi drivers?

    It feels weird to me that Uber is relatively new and most of this stuff hasn't changed since it was introduced. Maybe the rate that the drivers get paid has decreased? But otherwise, as long as Uber isn't doing anything illegal, it sounds like the drivers took a gamble on a new venture, it's not what they expected, and they should all leave. That would send a strong message to Uber, and if Uber still doesn't care then we're all better off without them.

      Taxi drivers are usually employees I think. They're not contractors. Consequently they may get paid per hour etc. Unless they own the business

        Taxi Drivers are self employed. They find someone to 'rent' a car off (also an independent contractor) and then 'subscribe' to a Taxi network.

        In Melbourne you rent a taxi for a week, pay for fuel/tyres/rego, work your butt off and take home the difference between your takings and the rent.

        In Canberra you just give the owner of the taxi 50% of all takings, and they pay for fuel and maintenance.

    Drivers might have a point here, but Uber was never meant for anything except highly casual part time work - a second job, not a primary means of support. Hence why it was 'ride share'. People have started treating this as full time because there's zero barrier to entry, and Uber probably have encouraged that in recent times.

    The risk is that Uber will decide its no longer profitable and disappear. That same risk is inherent to other odd job outfits like Deliveroo too. The 'employees' could kill the business by trying to force a business model they never really planned to implement.

    Don't feel sorry for uber X drivers , to dum to realise uber is exploiting them , sorry

    As previously mentioned above although historically some taxi driver not all may have been in a contractors relationship but the sole fact the taxi company and in this instance Uber are potentially breaching the corporations act which allows contractors to set their own price as they take on the responsibilities of paying their own tax/ super/ insurances. You will find like other ride share platforms and in fact the likes of uber rats are indeed leaning towards sham contracting.

      I'm not 100% sure. Sure as a contractor I can set my price. But by the same token the person taking my contract can decide which price the're willing to take my price. Consequently, really, who's setting the price? It's the person accepting the contract. I can choose to accept contracts only up to a certain price, and nothing over that. Same thing in a way happening with uber.

    RSDU - 1000 members, Uber - 60000 drivers. Hmm sounds like the typical disgruntled noisy minority. As stated previously Uber is a highly casual operation and not intended or promoted as a major income source. I am in part time casual employment and at 60 have found it impossible to obtain full time work, Uber has provided a second income that has the flexibility to work with my other employment. I am not dumb and did not join Uber expecting any more than they promised, if I expected more I wouldn't have joined.
    I suspect a lot of this is being driven by the Taxi industry, to drive out competition. The most common thing I hear from customers is that they would never use Taxis again. Perhaps if Taxis offered a better, reliable and cheaper service we wouldn't have this discussion.

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