Uber’s “40,000 drivers” claim does not stand up to scrutiny, says GMB

Pd Website News Gmb Maria Ludkin

The GMB Union has called into question Uber’s claim that 40,000 drivers will be out of work as a result of TfL’s refusal to renew its licence.

The union has called on Uber to come clean, as its accounts appear to show they only employ a tiny proportion of the full-time drivers they claim.

GMB legal director Maria Ludkin (pictured) said: “Uber London accounts show that if they’ve got 40,000 drivers as they claim, then they must be working an average of only three or four hours per week.”

Uber claimed that last year, drivers using their app made average fares of £15 per hour and were logged in for an average of 30 hours per week. “If 40,000 drivers in London were logged in for 30 hours a week that would mean they would have a turnover of £936m,” Ludkin said.

The accounts for Uber London Ltd for year ending December 31, 2015, the latest available, show a turnover of £23.3m. During this accounting period, Uber gave around 80% of any fare to the driver and kept 20%. This was increased to 25% for Uber last year. However, on the basis of a 20% percent retention, London Uber drivers did around £116.5m of business.

If, as Uber claims, a driver earns £15 per hour, that equals 7.76m annual hours to be allocated to 40,000 drivers, equivalent to 194 hours per year or 3.7 hours per week.

If a driver earns an average of £15 per hour then on business of £116.5m that would equate to 3,730 full-time equivalent drivers.

If a driver earns the National Living Wage rate plus driver costs, such as fuel and car expenditure, that equals 8.96m annual hours be allocated to 40,000 drivers, 224 hours per year or 4.3 per week. If a driver earns NLW plus driver costs then on business of £116.5m that would equate to 4,300 full-time equivalent drivers.

“Whichever way you cut it – Uber’s sums just don’t add up,” Ludkin said. “GMB’s experience is that a small group of drivers are driving well in excess of 40 hours per week in order to make a liveable wage.”

She added: “Uber’s claims that the TfL ban would lead to 40,000 job losses just do not bear scrutiny. While Uber’s CEO has publically apologised to London – Uber has a history of issuing apologies to cities that have taken bold decisions to halt their reckless behaviour in the treatment of workers and the public.”