Europe-wide strike to protest against Uber
Milan taxi drivers will strike all day on Wednesday 11 June, together with colleagues in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Paris and other cities to protest against Uber car-sharing system, which they denounce as illegal and unfair competition.
The strike was originally planned to last from 08.00 to 22.00, although at least one union will respect the two “strike-free” windows, laid down by law to protect commuters going to work or heading home. Exceptions will be made for the elderly, the disabled and the sick, as well as for pregnant women.
The striking drivers have not planned a protest march; instead, they plan to set up gazebos at major taxi stands in the city, as well as at Milan’s three airports, to provide information to the public about their complaints.
Italy’s transport minister Maurizio Lupi has already expressed conditional agreement with the taxi drivers’ objections, declaring the new phone app “UberPop” – a more recent version of the company’s software – illegal. Last Friday, Milan’s municipal police stopped and impounded two cars using this system. Meanwhile, scuffles and violent arguments between licensed taxi drivers and Uber drivers have been reported in local media, sometimes with one or the other finishing in hospital.
The protest was organised after a series of meetings to complain about Uber brought no concrete result. In a nutshell, the licensed taxi drivers object that Uber cars are the equivalent of an “NCC” (car-hire with driver) service, and should wait in their base garage for calls, rather than be allowed to roam the streets like regular taxis, picking up the nearest passenger. “We only want the rules to be respected by all,” say the drivers.