- More than 10,000 black taxi drivers in London have pledged to sue Uber citing a loss of profits.
- The group’s lawsuit claims that Uber broke the law from June 2012 to March 2018.
- Uber has firmly denied the allegations and insisted it operates legally in London.
More than 10,000 black taxi drivers in London have signed a class action lawsuit against Uber that could be worth more than £ 200million ($ 280million).
The action centers on a claim that Uber broke the law in the British capital between June 2012 and March 2018, allowing its drivers to accept reservations directly when they were not authorized to do so.
London’s black taxis are an iconic representation of the city, but its drivers say their business has been wiped out by Uber.
They allege that Uber violated the Private Rental Car Act 1998 (London) which states that taxis, including city taxis, must be arranged through a centralized office. London’s black taxis operate under different rules that allow pedestrians to hail one directly from the street.
Uber has denied the allegation. No claims have yet been made against Uber.
If the complaint made it to the courts, it would mark the latest regulatory headache for the ride-hailing giant in one of its most important markets.
In 2020, Uber successfully appealed a decision by London’s transport regulator, Transport for London, not to grant it a new license to operate in the city. The regulator had previously cited numerous security failures regarding the operation of Uber.
The company was also struck down by the UK Supreme Court in March, which ruled it must classify its roughly 70,000 drivers in the country as workers.
The latest action, known as the BULit21 campaign, is led by litigation firm RGL Management and law firm Mishcon de Reya. The companies believe that taxi drivers operating in the city between June 2012 and March 2018 can sue Uber for lost profits and that up to 30,000 drivers could be eligible to join the campaign.
RGL and Mishcon said the claim could be worth around £ 25,000 per driver in lost earnings, giving it an aggregate value of over £ 200million ($ 283million).
Uber said the allegations were “completely unfounded”.
“We are proud to serve this great global city and the 45,000 London drivers who rely on the app for income opportunities, and we are committed to helping people get around safely,” said a representative in a statement.
James Hayward, managing director of RGL, said reaching 10,000 drivers was a “historic moment”.
“The rapid growth of this group of claimants is a real testament to the number of taxi drivers who have suffered from Uber’s failure to comply with current legislation,” he said.
“We are extremely confident in the merits of the claim and provide the BULit21 Group with our full support and in-depth expertise in bringing large and complex legal actions to court.”
The campaign comes after Uber agreed to recognize the GMB union in the UK for its private drivers.