Uber Technologies Inc. has already seen its U.K. drivers departing to other ride-hailing and delivery apps, leading to longer waiting times. Now drivers are also spending time searching for fuel, hindering their ability to meet demand for rides.
“More and more of the working day is taken up looking for fuel,” said James Farrar, general secretary of Britain’s App Drivers and Couriers’ Union. Drivers aren’t compensated for this and they’re not able to raise prices themselves, so the gas shortage is eating into their earnings, he said.
The ADCU is planning a strike on Tuesday that will involve “thousands” of drivers in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield and Leeds, Farrar said. The action is demanding pay for all time drivers spend working, an increase to their per-mile fees and an end of what they say are unfair dismissals with compensation for lost wages when drivers are suspended.
A Uber spokesman said the company is not seeing a direct impact due to the fuel shortages but is monitoring the situation closely.
The U.K. government is considering bringing in the army to try to ease an acute fuel shortage across the country that has forced many gasoline retailers to shut pumps after days of panic buying. Long lines of cars forming early in the morning at gas stations can be seen in some parts of Britain.
Uber has a 2030 deadline to shift entirely to electric vehicles in Europe and North America. It faces hurdles to achieving this, given that the cost of an electric vehicle can be outside the reach of its drivers.
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