July 19, 2017


The Union is also seeking regulation to force transparency from Uber on how it sets its rates, following complaints from drivers and passengers over its secretive system.


“We cannot stand by while a system which is gaining a foothold in our transport network can increase rates or reduce them at random. At the moment this is happening at the whim of tech giants which are wielding their power in an entirely opaque way. Governments need to protect drivers and passengers from being ripped off,” said TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon.


The TWU call follows the Victorian Government’s announcement yesterday that it would introduce legislation to protect passengers against rate increases associated with Uber’s price-surging model. But the TWU also wants to see protections for drivers, who suffer when Uber cuts rates, leaving them earning less, or increases rates, threatening their livelihoods by turning customers off.


“Passengers were ripped off in Melbourne last week when the train network shut down and in Sydney during the Lindt café siege because of Uber’s price-surging. Drivers who sign up to Uber in good faith cannot bank on an income when the company can increase or decrease rates without warning or consultation. Governments are failing to protect the public and drivers by not acting on this,” he added.


Uber has been criticised over its lack of transparency on how it sets its rates and the fact that the gap between what passengers pay and what drivers get is widening. A new system being trialled for “route-pricing” based on what Uber estimates passengers are willing to pay, is also being criticised.


“The on-demand economy is again in the dock over its influence on our laws and society. We already know drivers are being denied protections such as sick leave and annual leave and are subject to arbitrary dismissal without independent oversight of industrial tribunals. We also have passengers and drivers held to ransom over price gouging when it suits the tech giants. Our Governments need to regulate this sector to protect our society,” Sheldon added.

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