Several unions of VTC were called to a blocking of access to the paris airports on Friday morning. The drivers are protesting against the increase of commissions paid on their earnings by the american company.
Since 15 December, the trade unions of drivers of VTC (UNSA, CAPA, Assets, CFDT, etc) lead the revolt against the first platform of the relationship with passengers. After four days of mobilization, sometimes violent, drivers, strikers have agreed on Monday to discuss with the american society under the aegis of the ministry of transport. The results are for the moment limited.
The platform has proposed to create a fund to support the drivers in trouble with 2 million euros, without giving the mode of employment. Too little for the drivers mobilized, who demanded, with the support of Alain Vidalies, secretary of State for transport, a decrease of five points of the commission that the company takes on each race.
- the origin of the conflict, an increase in fares and commissions
The 8th of December, to general surprise, Uber increased the price of its service by 15% on average, while imposing a 25% commission on races, compared to 20 % previously. This translates to an increase of less than 5 % of revenues, for the drivers…
On the bottom, the professional drivers who wish to strengthen their power vis-à-vis a client today omnipotent. Uber has created an ecosystem in which it is in control of everything, without involving the drivers, which are supposed to be independent. They complain in particular of being “disconnected” from the service when they receive criticism of passengers and shall have no recourse… where Uber sees a way to maintain the quality of its service, the drivers see it as an arbitrary deprivation of their activity.
- A “start-up” became a juggernaut, but that loses the money
If Uber refuses to compromise, it is that the group is convinced that its tariffs and service charges ” allow the profitability among the highest in the industry for drivers, and are at a level needed to ensure the future of Uber in the face of significant investments in France “, he explains in a press release.
It is also that the company presents a financial statement alarming at the global level. The company was accused in the third quarter a deficit of 800 million dollars (768 million euros). In the first nine months of 2016, it has already lost more than $ 2.2 billion.
Since its creation in 2009, the company has swallowed up some $ 5 billion to finance its rapid development. And it multiplies the raising of funds and the borrowings.
- An unbalanced relationship
If the drivers are demanding a more balanced relationship and a better revenue sharing, it is because they struggle to live from their activity. They argue the long hours spent at the wheel for a modest salary around the minimum wage (smic). According to Uber, they would earn between 1 400 and 1 600 euros net per month. But those who do can align 50 hours a week on the roads earn far less.
Why the drivers did not leave-they are not massively the application for other, less resource-intensive ? On the one hand, Uber remains the platform with the most popular and gives access to a huge pool of customers. On the other hand, the other companies of the VTC are often more selective than the american firm about the profile of the drivers.
- A legal framework to invent
The new law Grandguillaume on the VTC, finally adopted in Parliament on Wednesday, however, could change things. By prohibiting drivers known as status Loti (who are employees of businesses VTC) to keep a status of self-employed drivers, the law should be mechanically lower the number of drivers and help to restore a balance of power a bit more balanced with Uber.
In the meantime, Jacques Rapoport, the mediator appointed by the government, is continuing its consultations with all trade unions of drivers to move forward on a reform agenda of the relations between platforms and drivers.
If Uber refuses to touch its economic model, the company remains open to change to improve the income or the working environment of its drivers.