A MUCH publicised announcement by Uber to cut the maximum number of hours worked by its drivers has been condemned as a meaningless PR stunt.
A spokesman for the American app company said drivers would now have to take a six hour break for every ten hours they worked. Uber’s head of policy, Andrew Bryne, added: “Licensed drivers who use our app really value the freedom and flexibility to choose, if, when and where they work.
And while drivers only spend an average of 30 hours a week logged into our app, we want to do our part to ensure that they don’t drive tired. That’s why we’ve been sending drivers regular reminders to take rest breaks and why we are now bringing in these new limits. It is another example of how Uber uses technology to enhance driver and passenger safety.
But critics say the new restriction is meaningless because it does not take into account the hours sat waiting for a job.
A spokesman for the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA), said: “This is a toothless cap that still allows Uber’s drivers to work over 100 hours a week and is a PR stunt that will not improve passenger safety.”
LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara added: “It is laughable that Uber believes that drivers can still work over 100 hours a week, despite taking mandatory breaks and still be safe.
“Uber has again proved that it has little concern for public safety, exploiting its drivers and putting passengers at risk to maximise its profits.Not only that, but how can this company claim that all it’s drivers are self-employed and then try to restrict their hours!”
Uber’s announcement has also come under fire from drivers who say their earnings will be hit.
The reason that drivers are fatigued is because they are not earning enough, since they need to work at least 34 hours a week, just to break even. If Uber forces drivers to work less without paying more it is just going to depress hourly earnings even further below the minimum wage and push drivers to the brink.
“The solution is simple, Uber has to abide by what two separate employment tribunals have ruled and pay its drivers at least the minimum wage and holiday pay.”