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Uber: Protesters demand unfairly dismissed 200 drivers and couriers be reinstated

DEMONSTRATORS gathered outside the Uber headquarters in London today to protest at the gig-economy taxi firm’s dismissal of more than 200 drivers and couriers this year.

Members and supporters of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) demanded the reinstatement of unfairly sacked colleagues and a transparent termination process that incorporates workers’ basic rights to a hearing, union representation and to appeal against decisions.

The union also raised concerns over the disproportionate impact of automated ID checks on black, Asian and minority ethnic workers, many of whom have reported being ditched after years of service to the firm because its app failed to recognise their faces.

Similar software used by Uber in 2018 was revealed to have a failure rate of 20.8 per cent for darker-skinned female faces compared with no failures for white men.

George Ibekwe, who was sacked following a customer complaint, said: “I wasn’t given an explanation or the chance to respond to the complaint that led to my ‘deactivation.’

“I’m a professional driver, and I do not believe this complaint was a fair reflection of the reality of the dedicated work that I do.

“When I was deactivated, it made me go into a panic and then depression because I suddenly felt completely precarious.

“I have debts to clear, a family to look after and a car-finance deal to pay for, and my livelihood has been taken away.

“My despair has spread throughout my family. Uber cannot continue to treat us drivers in this way.”

Labour MP Ian Byrne, who tabled an early day motion against unfair “deactivations,” said: “Companies such as Uber, Deliveroo, Bolt and Stuart have made firing drivers and couriers into a daily routine.

“It is shameful that hundreds of key workers have lost their livelihoods with no notice and no fair process over the last year, driving workers and their families into poverty.

“Uber and the others must clean up their act and, as a country, we need far stronger protections in place to make it impossible for gig-economy companies to get away with treating their workers as disposable.”

IWGB president Alex Marshall vowed that the union would keep fighting until the drivers are reinstated and a fair system is implemented.

Uber has been approached for comment.

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