French government tells Uber to talk to protesting drivers


  • TECH
  • Monday, 19 Dec 2016

PARIS: The French government waded into a row over Uber's cut-price taxi service, urging local representatives of the US app-based business to give its drivers a proper hearing after two days of noisy protests over their working conditions. 

The California-based startup whose cab service has expanded exponentially worldwide stands accused in France and elsewhere of bypassing national labour protection standards and shunning collective negotiation with drivers who work on freelance terms. 

The French government appeal came as protesting Uber drivers jammed access roads to the two main airports outside Paris, in some cases provoking heated exchanges with motorists and people obliged to finish their journeys to the airport on foot.

People carrying their luggages walk past French anti-riot police officers (CRS) on the highway leading to the Orly airport on December 17, 2016 as VTC drivers (transport car with driver) block part of the road during a protest against reservation platforms. VTC drivers resumed their protest against reservation platforms on December 17, 2016, after a 24 hours truce, by calling again for new blockades near Paris, despite an agreement with Uber on future talks. / AFP PHOTO / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT
People carrying their luggage walking past French anti-riot police officers (CRS) on the highway leading to the Orly airport on Dec 17, 2016 as VTC drivers (transport car with driver) block part of the road during a protest against reservation platforms like Uber.— AFP

The drivers want Uber, the biggest of several app-based car services that have sprouted in competition with traditional licensed taxi firms, to heed their grievances over pricing and work conditions, saying it is increasingly hard to make a living. 

Transport Minister Alain Vidalies said he had learned during a meeting with drivers that Uber management had refused to deal with various unions that are seeking to present their demands, which include higher ride rates and floor-prices for trips. 

"The government is calling on Uber to engage in talks with the entire labour union spectrum, as French platforms do, in the interest of proper industrial relations," he said in a statement. 

Helmi Mamlouk, a representative of Uber drivers, said airport blockages would be suspended on Friday evening, when there is a surge in departures with the start of school holidays, but that the protests would resume if nothing moved on the talks front.

A man wears a white mask as ride-hailing drivers, known in France as VTC (transport car with driver) a class of companies that allow passengers to book rides with independent professional chauffeurs, demonstrate at the Porte Maillot in Paris on December 15, 2016 to demand a better wage and to protest against the booking platforms, including
A man wearing a white mask as ride-hailing drivers demonstrate at the Porte Maillot in Paris on Dec 15, 2016 to demand a better wage and to protest against the booking platforms, including "Uber". — AFP

It is not the first showdown Uber has caused. A court fined the company €1.2mil (RM5.61mil) last January following a complaint from the traditional taxi industry that Uber was flouting rules limiting it to pre-booked business. It was fined again in June. 

Founded in 2009, Uber Technologies Inc has taken the world by storm but come up against opposition too. 

Various services it proposed have been banned in some countries and it faces numerous battles in US courts over labour standards, safety rules and pricing policies that trigger fare surges at peak times. — Reuters

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

Next In Tech News

Post of topless photo of Kellyanne Conway’s daughter prompts probe
Amazon set to launch in Poland, shares in local Allegro fall
YouTube suspends Trump indefinitely, stops Giuliani monetising clips
All-rounder 5G smartphone: sexy outlook with unrivalled photography and videography experience
TikTok’s owner doubles sales to US$35bil despite US ban
Recycle plastic packages from online shopping to protect environment, consumers urged
'Crazy and evil': Bill Gates surprised by pandemic conspiracies
Educator loses RM81,133 after bogus inspector instructed her to download app
Google says North Korea-backed hackers sought cyber research
Taiwan says chipmakers to prioritise auto chips amid global shortage

Stories You'll Enjoy


-->