Union “welcomes” legal challenge over Uber’s “rogue tactics”

Private hire firm accused of “playing local authorities against each other” over convicted criminals working as drivers

Union “welcomes” legal challenge over Uber’s “rogue tactics”

Insurance News

By Paul Lucas

Controversy continues to swirl around Uber. Not only has the company been under the spotlight in relation to insurance, but now it has been slammed over convicted criminals driving in places where they are forbidden.

Southend Council banned two Uber drivers after they were jailed for operating a ring in which they and other drivers shared each other’s penalty points for speeding, running red lights and other offences to avoid being banned. However, they were granted a private hire license by Transport for London and the drivers have been able to work in the seaside town using this licence.

Now, the union GMB has claimed that Southend Council is seeking legal advice and wants Uber’s licence to be revoked entirely – the company does not have a licence to operate in the area.

“These rogue tactics are completely wrong and a problem around the country,” said Steve Garelick of the GMB’s professional drivers’ branch.

“If Uber is not allowed to operate in an area – they should accept that and not try to twist the rules.

“They are playing local authorities off against each other and it’s just not on.”

GMB has said it will “welcome” and support “any legal challenge” over convicted criminals driving for Uber where they are forbidden by local authorities.

In response, Uber issued the following statement to Insurance Business:

"Drivers licensed by TfL are dispatched under Uber London’s private hire operator’s licence," the statement read. "As we don't yet have a licence in Southend, private hire drivers licensed there are currently unable to sign up to the app. It's common industry practice for drivers licensed in one jurisdiction to carry out trips in other jurisdictions as long as they are pre-booked and dispatched from the operator's licence they are registered to. 

"Private hire drivers that use the Uber app are fully licensed independent contractors and are free to log in and drive when and where they choose. We would welcome more transparent data sharing between licensing authorities so that if one authority revokes an individual’s private hire driver’s licence, all other authorities are aware."

Related stories:
Uber appeals ruling that its drivers are workers
London Mayor responds to Uber on insurance feud


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