Uber fires striking drivers‚ promises ‘zero tolerance’

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Image: 123RF/ Piotr Adamowicz

Uber on Friday admitted to removing some Johannesburg drivers from its platform‚ promising it would not tolerate recent violent conduct.

The company was responding to an email circulating about drivers threatening to go “offline” on Friday.

The drivers‚ naming themselves the “general task team”‚ claimed that Uber had blocked several drivers from its platform following their protest on Tuesday‚ when they handed over a memorandum of demands including among other issues that Uber reduce the share it takes for every trip from 25% to 15%.

"We do not deactivate drivers unnecessarily‚" Uber said in a statement on Friday.

"Drivers who were found to be involved in illegal acts or were acting violently to other drivers to limit their ability to earn a living were removed from the app‚" the company confirmed.

"We have zero tolerance towards this type of behaviour. Drivers who continue to limit the choice of others or behave violently will be removed from the app."

Uber’s guidelines for drivers clearly state: "Any behaviour involving violence‚ sexual misconduct‚ harassment‚ discrimination or illegal activity while using Uber can result in the immediate loss of your account.”

Uber explained that drivers have a number of channels available to engage with the company‚ including daily office hours‚ 24/7 support and regular partner roundtables.

Regarding the demands handed over on Tuesday‚ Uber said the memorandum it received was signed by an individual who did not even use the Uber app. “This individual cannot speak for Uber. We struggle to understand how he can speak for so many diverse drivers who use Uber‚ especially when he does not."

Uber said the actions of "this small group" did not reflect the sentiments of all drivers using its app. "These drivers seem to want to create unnecessary unrest and concern. They are not interested in engaging in any form of dialogue‚ which is questionable."

The company said it was engaging with drivers on the issues raised in the memorandum. "We will continue to engage with our driver community via our established channels‚ which all drivers have agreed to when signing up with Uber."

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