james and Yaseen

Statement from Uber claimants James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam

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Yesterday, once more, we managed to hold the line against Uber. Much is at stake in this battle and not just for minicab drivers because if Uber get their way it will be like an industrial relations dam bust. Employers everywhere will look to slip the ties of employment regulation, saddle their workers with an unfair share of the business risk and deny them the basic worker rights protections hard won over the past 150 years.

It has been an immense privilege to be the test claimants for this watershed case but a huge responsibility also. We’ve worked hard to build the best case possible with thousands of pages of evidence and continuous engagement to support our legal team. We don't want to let anyone down so we try to leave no stone unturned.

We now face yet another appeal from Uber and the stakes are greater still. Our lawyers reminded us yesterday, as the two test claimants, we must carry some personal exposure for financial & legal jeopardy. It is a sobering thought when you consider Uber is a $70 billion corporation with a ruthless reputation and will stop at nothing to get its way. At the end of the day, no union or other 3rd part entity can co-sign the legal complaint with us.  No other entity can be party to the case and shield us from all liability. As test claimants that is our responsibility which we alone bear together as a duo.

That is why trust and team work is so important. To carry on a fight as momentous as this we need to act as a collective and in true solidarity for what is best for workers. We have always insisted that we would not allow this fight to be a proxy fight for the benefit of others with Uber drivers themselves made collateral damage. We will only ever fight for the better interests of minicab drivers in this fight against Uber. For instance, we went against conventional opinion, to oppose TfL’s decision not to re-license Uber. In an industry as chronically rotten as the UK private hire sector, there are few better alternatives and many much worse. Better then for workers to Uber kept in license, ensure the law is enforced and pressure them into bargaining to improve terms. Our first rule: do no harm to the cause and people we are fighting alongside and for.

With that in mind we are so very proud of the IWGB Union who have backed us. The IWGB is a small independent union that punches far above its weight. It’s a true disrupter.

John F Kennedy once said:  victory has 100 fathers but defeat is an orphan’.  In all of the PR noise surrounding yesterday’s victory, it must not be overlooked that it was the IWGB alone  who 100% backed this legal fight to see off Uber’s appeal. As the two test claimants, we alone were obliged to answer Uber’s appeal but we could never have resourced it personally. If the IWGB had not stepped in to back us we simply would have had to concede and the legal fate of the legions of Uber drivers who have joined our claim been badly undermined. Under the leadership of Dr. Jason Moyer-Lee, IWGB instructed the brilliant legal team of Bates Wells Braithwaite and Cloisters Chambers and set out a winning legal strategy for us.  We are eternally grateful to Jason Galbraith-Marten QC, Sheryn Omeri, Paul Jennings and Rachel Mathieson for their great skill and commitment. For it was this legal team and this team alone that argued and won our victory.

In the IWGB we have found a union that shares our unstinting commitment to the welfare of Uber drivers, to preserving their independence in work at Uber while campaigning for improvement of terms and conditions. Our membership of private hire drivers at the IWGB is swelling and, for the first time, we minicab drivers are effectively organising to master our own destiny at work. Collectively, we are growing in strength and are no longer prepared to accept the trade exploitation and discrimination that has persisted for decades. Neither are we prepared to continue to accept a cruel regulatory regime that has taken our license fees and looked the other way to allow sweatshop conditions to take hold.

In becoming part of the IWGB, we feel confident that vulnerable workers will never be offered up as collateral damage for someone else’s battle.  After all, IWGB's  tag line and promise is 'putting workers first'. We couldn’t be more proud of our membership and association with the IWGB – it is a true home for independent workers and has risen to become the undoubted defacto trade union leader for the so called gig economy.

And now, as we move to on the next stage in this legal battle, we are strong and we are united under the IWGB banner.

Viva IWGB!


James Farrar & Yaseen Aslam 

November 11. 2017

IWGB UPHD leaders demo now


6 thoughts on “Statement from Uber claimants James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam

  1. Great jobs you guys deserve full respect and full support from who they are work as chauffeurs driver delivery person
    Well done I hope in future more to come but make sure do not negotiate with uber on those matter which belongs to driver future

    1. Thanks Azam, rest assured we will never compromise. One of the advantages of joining UPHD is that we only represent PH drivers. We don’t try to also represent black cab drivers or operators. This way there is never an ethical conflict of interest.

  2. It’s all very well the union demanding minimum wage.As an uber driver I appreciate that.
    But what about the safeguards to stop drivers taking advantage of the system by not working or hiding at home. Or any number of scams they can think of.
    We all know that given the chance to get money for nothing there are a lot of people who will take advantage. It’s human nature.

    1. Hi David, Uber already has a range of measures it uses to make sure drivers don’t abuse the system and to punish them if they do. With rights come responsibilities, yes

  3. David if you are representing Uber than call your self Uber. If you are a driver than don’t worry too much about Uber and how other drivers will abuse the system. The issue here is drivers earning at least a minimum wage for every hour they work after all expenses are paid.
    I don’t think that any drivers with any common sense will oppose that and worry about drivers taking advantage.
    Then Uber pay plenty of people to take care of its business they will find ways to deal with them.

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