Following the unfair dismissal of over 200 drivers and couriers by app-based operators this year, the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain (IWGB) brought together workers from its United Private Hire Drivers and the Couriers and Logistics Branches to protest on Monday outside Uber HQ at Aldgate Tower in London.
A motorcade of cars, bicycles and mopeds blocked the road outside Uber HQ, demanding the reinstatement of unfairly sacked colleagues and a transparent termination process in line with ACAS guidelines which respects basic rights to a hearing, trade union representation and to appeal.
Nader Awaad, chair, United Private Hire drivers Branch (IWGB) said: “Today drivers and couriers made their voices heard but it is only the beginning for us. We want justice and due process and we will fight for it and for each other until we win and every worker unfairly sacked is reinstated. “
The union has also raised concerns over the impact of automated ID checks on BAME workers, many of whom report being terminated after years of loyal service because the app failed to recognise their faces. In 2018 a similar version of the software used by Uber was found to have a failure rate of 20.8 percent for darker-skinned female faces, 6 percent for male, falling to zero percent for white men.
Uber, Deliveroo and other app-based corporations routinely sack drivers and couriers without notice, investigation or due process. In November 72 MPs signed an Early Day Motion condemning “the opaque and unjust process by which app-based couriers and private hire drivers working for companies such as UBER and Deliveroo can be blocked permanently from their accounts and thus effectively dismissed from their jobs”, and called for “all app-based companies to end unfair dismissals by implementing fair dismissal processes, including a hearing prior to dismissal, and the right to appeal a dismissal with union representation.”
The IWGB has made representations on behalf of over 200 drivers in the last year following their deactivation to companies including Uber, Deliveroo, Bolt, Stuart, Free Now and Ola but in the vast majority of cases the companies have not conducted any investigation or allowed appeal and as a result hundreds of key workers remain unable to work.