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London’s black cab drivers file multimillion pound lawsuit against Uber



London’s black cab drivers file multimillion pound lawsuit against Uber

Uber faces a multimillion-pound lawsuit from London’s black cab drivers in a revival of the longstanding dispute over the operation of the ride-hailing app in the UK capital.

The action, which will be filed in the High Court on Thursday, alleges that Uber improperly obtained a licence from Transport for London in 2012 and therefore took business away from other drivers unlawfully.

The value of the claim is estimated at a minimum of £250m, with each of the 10,500 black cab drivers potentially eligible for compensation of up to £25,000, according to RGL Management, the litigation claims management company representing them.

All London black cab drivers who worked full-time or part-time between June 2012 and mid-March 2018, including those who have since retired, can join the action, according to a statement published on RGL’s website.

“Uber seems to believe it is above the law and cabbies across London have suffered loss of earnings because of it,” Garry White, who has driven a black cab for 36 years, said in a statement. “It is time they were held to account.”

The lawsuit revives a claim the drivers first attempted to bring against Uber in 2018, alleging the company misled TfL about how its operating system worked. The suit was temporarily abandoned amid the pandemic.

Michael Green, the director of RGL Management, said: “There are still thousands of cabbies eligible to join who have not yet done so. A cut-off date is fast approaching.”

“These old claims are completely unfounded,” an Uber spokesperson said. “Uber operates lawfully in London, is fully licensed by TfL, and is proud to serve millions of passengers and drivers across the capital.”

Uber has faced a series of disputes over its operations in London, with Transport for London (TfL) refusing to renew the company’s licence in 2017 because it did not consider the company responsible enough when it came to public safety.

The ride-hailing app successfully appealed the decision after renewal was denied yet again two years later. Its current licence expires at the end of September.

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Drivers also won payouts after the Supreme Court in 2021 endorsed a landmark employment tribunal ruling that they should be classed as workers, entitled to minimum wage and paid holidays.

The company was the subject of an international investigation published in 2022 by The Guardian after more than 100,000 files were leaked revealing the company’s attempts to lobby politicians and cut access to their databases in the event of police raids.

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Uber representatives said in a statement at the time it would not make excuses for its past behaviour.

The company’s current chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, was brought in in 2017 to replace the co-founder Travis Kalanick and turn the company around.

The company weathered the pandemic and recorded its first full-year profit in 2023.

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