September 25, 2017

Uber: Labour was never the workers’ party

Uber: Labour was never the workers’ party

Quick to bill itself as the champion of the working class, while at the same time portraying the Conservative Party as a self-absorbed defender of the elite, disinterested in the needs of those living in poverty, the Labour Party has shown itself to be anything of the sort, says Nic Conner. 

I’m no Uberist, in fact I only used the taxi firm once and it happened to be last week when I had to get to Waterloo Station to catch a 5am train.

I downloaded the app the night before and was able to pre-book a time slot for a taxi in the morning. It came on time and dropped me off. I was not blown away by the service, it was what it was; a mini cab journey I booked on an app.

Even after my maiden Uber trip you still couldn’t find me defending them, it has not changed my life for the better and I still question their corporate ethics. For people in my pay bracket a taxi is a luxury and if I ever take a taxi in London it will most likely be a black cab.

The company itself is typical of a fast-growing multinational business, it has played fast and loose with regulations.

It is unsettling to know the company recruited some of the people they had driving for them; they were a clear risk to passenger safety. It was also unforgivable how Uber put on surge pricing for passenger journeys when they were using the firm to evacuate London Bridge after the terrorist incidents.

There is a lot wrong with Uber, but for Transport for London to revoke their licence is wrong. Such a move will see 40,000 workers living with uncertainly and the prospect of losing their only means of living.

40,000 workers losing their jobs seems to be a fact ignored by Sadiq Khan and many Labour members who are celebrating the TfL decision not to re-licence Uber, this is just typical of the Labour Party.

Quick to bill itself as the champion of the working class, while at the same time portraying the Conservative Party as a self-absorbed defender of the elite, disinterested in the needs of those living in poverty, the Labour Party has shown itself to be anything of the sort. Blanketed in hypocrisy, the party is happy to lay-off forty thousand workers in order to defend a sector dominated by a cartel whose members are made up by a middle-class elite refusing to innovate.

Ironically, the myth that Labour has sought for decades to perpetuate about both itself and the Conservative Party, has, over-night, been revealed. Labour was never the party of Stoke South and Walsall North, but rather that of Kensington and Canterbury.

One of the criticisms of Margret Thatcher during the miners’ strike, is that she took on the mining unions at the expenses of the workers’ jobs and did not put in a contingency plan in place to help with the unemployment struggle after the miners lost their jobs. This is exactly what Khan is doing now with Uber.

We know TfL would not have taken a drastic Trump like action like this without at least confiding with the Mayor. It is quite clear TfL’s decision not to re-licence Uber was almost certainly done with the influence of Khan’s anti-Uber rhythmic.

If Khan had workers interests at heart rather that simply pursuing an ideological action of bashing a multinational, he could have easily told TfL his preferred option was to re-issue a licence to Uber but with tough new conditions attached which would have forested Uber to reform.

Instead of working with Uber to see the company change for the better and protect and the jobs of 40,000 Londoners, the Mayor has stood by the decision. To make matters worse it has not laid out a plan to help any of the drivers he is trying to make unemployed.

If Uber lose their appeal many drivers will be out of work. Many of the drivers have their car on hire purchase or lease finance. These guys now are facing the very real prospect of seeing their vehicles seized as the income, and ability to meet their monthly finance payments, disappears over-night.

So where are the Labour Party’s calls to protect the workers? Why isn’t the Mayor of London offering to reach an agreement with Uber and the car financers to support the drivers if they lose their jobs? Is it unthinkable for a Labour Mayor to commit to industrial relations to support workers they are pursuing in the courts to put out of work?

The sad truth is, it has taken a relatively right-wing Conservative in myself to call for a relatively left-wing Labour Mayor to consider industrial relations to support workers, but we know Labour is no longer a workers’ party.

5.00 avg. rating (93% score) - 1 vote
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Nic Conner
Nic is a Conservative Party activist, who when not writing in a personal capacity about politics, works with British SME's to help them gain access to finance.
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