Government must act to protect Uber drivers & customers from Covid19

by United Private Hire Drivers

Government must act to protect Uber drivers & customers from Covid19

by United Private Hire Drivers
United Private Hire Drivers
Case Owner
United Private Hire Drivers is the leading representative body in the UK for private hire drivers. We are fighting for life saving worker protections for Uber and other private hire drivers.
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United Private Hire Drivers
Case Owner
United Private Hire Drivers is the leading representative body in the UK for private hire drivers. We are fighting for life saving worker protections for Uber and other private hire drivers.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Help us take action to stop further deaths of Uber and other private hire drivers as well as their passengers due to corporate and regulatory negligence. Drivers and passengers urgently need the protection of regulatory enforcement against private hire operators for immediate implementation of appropriate safety protocols and provision of personal protection equipment to drivers.  

Support us to bring an emergency Judicial Review to force the Department for Health, Department for Transport, Transport for London and other licensing authorities to set minimum health and safety standards for private hire services during the pandemic. We also intend to take action against the failure of operators to meet HSE requirements as well as failure to pay out promised sick pay. 


Background

Private hire drivers provide essential services during the Covid-19 crisis. Drivers take key workers – including NHS staff - to and from their place of work. Drivers carry disabled people on essential journeys and deliver groceries and food to people at home.

Drivers are paying the price for serving the public, without proper Government rules on personal protection.This past weekend, a long time member of United Private Hire Drivers died from the affects of covid-19. He was only 32 years, without underlying sickness and had been working for Uber before he got sick. 

Three other members, including our London committee chair, Abdurzak Hadi,  became seriously ill with covid-19 symptoms but thankfully all have since recovered. Just before he became ill, Abdur was featured in this Guardian video with Owen Jones discussing his fears, as a precarious worker at Uber, of contracting the virus. Little did he know, shortly after he would become ill himself.

For years, employment misclassification has allowed private hire operators like Uber dodge minimum wage & holiday pay obligations for years. Now we see how misclassification is also leading to an abdication of responsibility for health and safety.

UPHD will be defending Uber's next and final appeal against our 2016 Employment Tribunal win in July this year.   


Drivers and the travelling public are at now at risk 

Uber has promised 200,000 free rides to NHS staff. We welcome the move but we recognise it poses mutual risk to drivers and passengers. We need to keep both parties safe from additional and unnecessary exposure to infection risk. 

Unfortunately, despite clear obligations to do so, most private hire operators have not established safety protocols to reduce risk of infection and almost none have provided personal protection equipment, training or sanitising supplies. 

Worst of all, the Department for Transport, Transport for London and most of the major licensing authorities have FAILED to step in and set binding regulatory safety standards to keep drivers and the travelling public safe. Instead, they have issued contradictory and confusing communications: they advise drivers to stay home BUT say drivers are allowed to continue working, they deny drivers critical worker status BUT say drivers may be critical workers on a case by case basis. 

Meanwhile the Department for Health permits private hire operators like Uber to continue to operate their business without setting any minimal safety standards to prevent the spreading of the virus between passengers and drivers.

Compare this to the actions of the Dutch authorities who have imposed strict new conditions including the mandatory use of personal protection equipment and enforcement of a 1.5 metre minimum separation as well as extra precautions for higher risk passengers. 

Without access to sick pay or holiday and with a delay until June for limited government support, many drivers are forced to keep working in order to feed their families and to keep up with vehicle financing. They and their passengers deserve protection now.  


Action

We plan to bring an emergency judicial review to force the government and licensing authorities to act now to introduce minimal safety standards to protect drivers and the travelling public from infection.

We also plan to take action to ensure drivers are paid out for sick pay protection where it is withheld. 


Legal representation

We are represented by Simon Cox at Doughty Street Chambers.

Any funds left over will be used to in legal defence of low paid private hire drivers and to support our defence against Uber's latest and final appeal against our 2016 Employment Tribunal win which is due to be heard at the Supreme Court in July. This is a MUST WIN case.  

With your support we can end the scourge of employment misclassification. Help us save lives.

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