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France

Uber drivers to blockade Paris airports on Friday

© AFP archive | Uber drivers say that they have little protection and are not paid enough.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-12-22

Travellers flying in and out of Paris Friday should expect severe disruptions with Uber drivers planning to blockade both the Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports from 4am.

Passengers should make plans to use the public transport system rather than relying on either taxis or mobile apps such as Uber.

Detailed information and journey planning (in English) for Paris’s RATP public transport system can be found by clicking here.

The industrial action by Uber drivers follows a move by the US company to hike commissions from its drivers from 20 percent to 25 percent. Uber has refused to increase its fares, effectively leaving drivers out of pocket.

At a similar protest last Thursday, Uber drivers claimed they were working for as little as 3.75 euros an hour, and could not afford to hand the company a further 5 percent of their takings.

Unions representing private hire drivers (called VTCs in France) say the the company is ignoring France’s tough labour laws, in particular by blacklisting drivers with little or no warning, effectively making them unemployed.

They also say Uber has refused to enter into any collective negotiations with drivers’ representatives.

On Wednesday, the French government’s mediator, former SNCF state rail boss Jacques Rapoport, met with union leaders and it was an “encouraging first step”, according to UNSA-VTC Union boss Sayah Baaroun.

Baaroun said his union was looking at suing Uber for “Social Dumping” and “Unfair Blacklisting” of drivers.

Meanwhile, the French Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a law that goes some way to allaying VTC drivers concerns.

The law hands the responsibility to apps such as Uber to ensure drivers are properly insured, hold a valid driver’s licence and are accredited VTC drivers.

It also adds protection for drivers’ personal data that is handled by the app, and forbids them from imposing exclusivity clauses on drivers, which would prevent them from working for competing apps.

But none of these measures will prevent the industrial action planned for Friday.

Roads around Paris’s airports will be blocked from 4am to approximately 2pm, at which point the drivers will converge on Uber’s Paris headquarters in the city’s 19th arrondissement (district).

Unions said it was likely that the blockades, which copy a tried and tested protest method regularly used by Paris taxi drivers in the past, could continue in the coming days if there is not a satisfactory response from Uber.

Date created : 2016-12-22

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