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Uber and Lyft global strike: Drivers say pay and transparency are central complaints

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08.05.2019

The ride-sharing world is protesting today: From Los Angeles to London to Mumbai, Uber and Lyft drivers in at least 14 countries on six continents will vent frustration over declining payments and a lack of transparency on how decisions affecting them are made. But specific goals vary by city and even individually, from those who want employee status to those who just want a better cut of fares.

Some will strike by logging off the apps, for anywhere from 2 to 24 hours, depending on the city. Others deliberately avoid the word “strike” and association with labor unions. Some will protest at Uber or Lyft offices, demanding that the companies change practices. Others will protest at city halls, urging government to force changes. Most drivers will do nothing at all, but that doesn’t mean they are content.

“For every 10 drivers there are 10 different opinions,” says Barbara Lloyd, cofounder of Chicago Rideshare Advocates, a driver group formed in June 2018. “It’s like asking a Chicagoan, What’s the best pizza joint?”

But Chicagoans are united in believing their city has the best pizza, and ride-share drivers are united in some overall concerns. “You could broadly say that pay is probably the number-one issue between everybody, and then transparency–like around, for example, the deactivation issue [in which drivers are dropped from the platform],” says Rebecca Stack-Martinez, an Uber and Lyft driver from the San Francisco group Gig Workers Rising. “So there’s a lot of stuff we all agree on. But the very end game, like how it looks through legislation and strategy . . . it could vary greatly between groups.”

On March 25, Stack-Martinez’s group joined peers in San Diego and Los Angeles for demonstrations that foreshadowed today’s action. In San Francisco, around 100 protested outside a meeting between Lyft and potential investors ahead of its rocky IPO. In San Diego, about 50 demonstrated at the airport. Around 300 L.A. drivers protested in front of an Uber Greenlight Hub (a driver-assistance center). L.A. organizers also called on drivers to “strike” by logging off the Uber and Lyft apps for 25 hours. The group, Rideshare Drivers United, says all of its members, about 3,000........

© Fast Company