Uber drivers organised a 24 hour strike and rallied at Uber offices against precarious working conditions and unfair pay, Shabbir Lakha reports
Following last week's historic joint strike by fast food, pub and delivery workers, Uber drivers today went on a 24-hour strike and rallied outside Uber offices in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. They are the latest strike against the gig economy, taking the fight straight to employers thriving on precarious labour.
The Tories boast high employment, but the reality is that a huge chunk of new jobs in the last 8 years are zero-hours contracts (now up to 1.8 million). The evidence is in the lowest wage growth in 200 years, and the growing number of precarious workers fighting to unionise.
In the last year we've seen wildcat strikes from Deliveroo and UberEats riders, precarious university staff, McDonald's, TGI Fridays, and Wetherspoons staff and now Uber drivers as well. Their fight for union recognition is a central part of their fight for fair pay, worker's rights and secure employment.
Over a hundred Uber drivers gathered outside Uber's HQ in Aldgate Tower and had an energetic and noisy rally. They demanded an end to the 25% commission Uber takes and recognition as workers and the rights they're entitled to with it.
Despite the heavy police presence, the pickets were militant and took to the road and shut down Whitechapel High Street with an impromptu march around the block.
Last year Uber drivers took the case to court and won a ruling that Uber should recognise them as workers and afford them their rights. Uber have since appealed - which they lost - and appealed again, which will be heard on 30th October at the Court of Appeal. The Independent Worker's Union of Great Britain who has been involved in organising the drivers and couriers will be rallying on the day and will end at University of London to support workers fighting outsourcing.
One thing is clear: the Tories' rhetoric of high levels of employment, an end to austerity and the benefits of the gig economy is bankrupt. Workers in precarious conditions from different sectors are working together and unionising en masse to fight back.
Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end zero hours contracts and increase the minimum wage, and last week John McDonnell told all Labour MPs that if there was a picket line in their constituency they must go down to it and show their support.
Precarious workers are leading the way and the entire labour movement to rally behind workers across the board and fight for a reversal of the deteriorating working conditions and growing income inequality.
Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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