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Uber Sued for $312 Million by London Cab Drivers

London, Black Cabs

Uber is reportedly facing a $312 million lawsuit from drivers of London’s black cabs.

That suit, according to a Bloomberg news report Thursday (May 2), was filed by more than 10,800 cabbies and accuses the tech giant’s ride hailing operation of operating in Great Britain’s largest city illegally. 

The cab drivers allege that Uber’s license to operate in London was obtained improperly, and that the company intended to gain market share illegally, taking business away from black cab drivers if necessary.

“Uber knew this at all material times; and that in order to obtain its license Uber deliberately misled Transport for London as to how that operating system worked,” cab company RGL, which is managing the claim, said, referring to London’s transportation regulator.

An Uber spokesperson told Bloomberg the claims are old and “completely unfounded,” adding that the company “operates lawfully in London,” and is fully licensed.

Uber has had trouble with Transport for London before. The regulator suspended the company’s license in 2017, accusing Uber of neglecting proper background checks and failing to report crimes. Two years later, the company lost its license again, with the regulator once again citing safety concerns.

In both cases, Uber was able to successfully appeal those decisions.

Meanwhile, PYMNTS wrote earlier this week about the debate over the classification of gig workers in Massachusetts, where proposals to reclassify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees rather than independent contractors have led to heated debates about labor rights and the unintended consequences of regulatory measures.

“Similar to its West Coast counterpart, Massachusetts is grappling with the question of how to ensure fair treatment and adequate protections for workers as part of the H1158/S627 bill, while preserving the flexibility and accessibility that have defined the gig economy,” that report said.

This debate comes on the heels of recent PYMNTS Intelligence research on paycheck-to-paycheck living that illustrates the significance of gig work as a source of income for many people wrestling with the pressures of inflation. 

The research found that 30% of workers earning supplemental incomes say that losing this income stream would drastically upset their financial situation. In addition, more than half of paycheck-to-paycheck workers struggling to stay on top of their monthly bills likely depend on gig income, compared to 38% just one year ago.

“In essence, side hustles, including driving for ride-sharing platforms, constitute a substantial portion of some individual’s earnings,” PYMNYTS wrote. “And reclassifying drivers as employees could disrupt this vital income stream, resulting in unintended consequences that harm the very individuals the reclassification aims to protect.”