How the uber case will help local taxi firms in the UK


The Anti-Uber Approach to a Fairer Jobs Market

In October, an employment tribunal in London ruled that Uber drivers are employees, not independent contractors, and therefore owed associated benefits such as minimum wage, breaks and holiday pay. The landmark ruling sent shockwaves through the “gig” economy. Uber was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and operates in over 70 countries. The app-based transportation network service has long maintained its drivers are self-employed. Uber plans to appeal the ruling.  A Taxis of Bristol take a look at the future of taxi rentals and how this may change the way it works within the UK.

Compared to the UK’s traditional black cabs, Uber taxis provide a cheaper alternative to customers. According to the Guardian, there are over 40,000 licensed Uber drivers in the UK. So how will the ruling affect local taxi firms? At the very least, it will create a fairer jobs market and help prevent the exploitation of workers. It may also encourage people to take a closer look at the pros and cons of the gig economy.

The Gig Economy

The gig economy is a double-edged sword. While the business model offers workers greater freedom and innovation, it also provides a greater chance for rich companies to exploit and take advantage of workers. For example, with popular shared-economy enterprises like Instacart and TaskRabbit, freelancers can underbid one another to take on errands and win jobs. In other words, it’s a business model that works particularly well during a bad job market. It’s no surprise that Uber was hatched on the heels of America’s financial collapse and Great Recession. Still, to the optimists, Uber’s business model looks super-progressive. To the naysayers, it’s a model that forces struggling, disenfranchised workers to compete for short-time work assignments as Silicon Valley sits back and cashes the checks.

The Black Cab Rides Again

The ruling on Uber illustrates the many cracks in the gig economy. The controversy and backlash is sure to create an economic boost for local taxi firms in the UK. Over the years, drivers complained of being exploited by corrupt minicab controllers. But Uber, it appears, is no different than the minicab controllers. Uber simply softened the fact it was exploiting its workers by calling them self-employed. Will the local UK taxi firms take advantage of the situation and sweeten wage offers, holiday pay, and vacation time to lure workers away from Uber? It’s possible. Is this the beginning of the war on wheels or is it the end of the road?

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