A broad coalition planning action against ridesharing giant Uber in over a dozen cities just received some international reinforcements: Australian drivers have announced their intention to join this Wednesday’s mass strike.
The Rideshare Driver Cooperative and Transport Workers Union have decided that, like workers elsewhere taking to the streets and demanding changes to the platforms and the laws that have undercut so many drivers, the good people of Straya might like to have a go at voicing their displeasure with Uber, too.
Starting bright and early at 10:30am, drivers in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne are, like heaps of others, signing off their apps and demonstrating. “Uber’s drivers continue to reduce driver rates (which are already below minimum wage),” the Transport Workers Union wrote, “deactivate drivers with no notice or right to appeal and refuse to support drivers even when they are beaten or sexually assaulted.”
So yeah, it’s the same story the world over.
The protests, set to coincide with Uber’s decision to go public at a nauseating valuation of around $US100 ($143) billion, are far from the first demonstration drivers have staged against the company or its chief rival Lyft, but they’re set to be the largest by far. Rideshare Drivers United chapters in LA, San Diego, and Georgia will be joined by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Gig Workers Rising in San Fransisco, Boston Independent Drivers Guild, and other groups representing Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Philly in turning off their apps en masse and refusing to subsidise the platform’s bosses.
Drivers in the UK associated with the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain announced last week that they’d also be joining in, with drivers scheduled to demonstrate in London, Nottingham, Glasgow, and Birmingham.
Lyft, which went public shortly before Uber, is still seeing its stock price plummet, and analysts believe the threat of the forthcoming strike is at least partly to blame. To our knowledge, this will also be the first mass action against Uber to include an elected official, in the form of Virginia delegate Lee Carter:
Because of the low pay at the General Assembly, I've been driving for Lyft on the side to make ends meet.
I'm striking on Wednesday with thousands of my fellow rideshare drivers. Don't cross the picket line.
Don't do it.
Don't cross the picket line.
— Lee J. Carter (@carterforva) May 6, 2019
In addition to seeking a more equitable working arrangement with Uber, these groups are asking that riders seek other modes of transportation on Wednesday. However, each of these boycotts will be occurring at slightly different times owing to the decisions of the local coalitions involved.
Unfortunately silent—save a lone worker who anonymously published his opinion on Medium last month—have been Uber’s official corporate employees.
Uber declined to comment for this story.