Uber Drivers protesting outside Uber’s Headquarters in San Francisco, US, May 8, 2019. Reuters.
Transport was adversely affected in major cities across the United States as Uber and Lyft app drivers went on 24-hr strike that began at midnight on May 8th. The strike varied from two-hour strikes to day-long boycotts. This has affected cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia and is expected to extend overseas.
The drivers went on strike against the company’s recent 25% wage cut, citing that they could not afford to live in the city nor feed their families with even their current pay. “The main demand here is Uber and Lyft pay drivers a living wage”, said Jeffery Douglas, an organizer with Driver United in Washington DC. He and other drivers stated that they were frustrated by Uber and Lyft executives living off hefty cheques while many drivers could not afford basic needs including food, shelter, and healthcare.
The Uber and Lyft drivers went on a protest a day after Uber announced its shares in a public offer (IPO) on the US stock exchange. The organizers chose this timely boycott to voice out the drivers’ pleas as all attention from the investors, elected officials and public would be on Uber owning to the IPO launch.
Gig Workers Rising in San Francisco is urging drivers to shut off their Uber app for 24hrs in protest. This group was the first to go on the streets to demonstrate and held a rally right outside the Uber’s Cooperate headquarters.
A Lyft representative talking to the Guardian, however, stated that the drivers’ earnings had been increased over the last two years and they were working on improving their experience as the driver community.