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Transport workers in Australia hold nationwide protest against Uber

Christian Fernsby |
Australian transport workers have picketed outside the offices of Uber in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane on Wednesday, to protest Uber.

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Handing over a list of demands to the digital giant including better pay and working conditions, Tony Sheldon, Australia's Transport Workers' Union (TWU) co-ordinator on the on-demand economy said drivers around the world are getting "ripped off."

"Uber and other ride-share companies must be regulated because they are wrecking livelihoods and wrecking our economies."

"Uber has been allowed to insert itself into our communities with low paying work. It is clear that the business model is flawed."

"Governments need to stand against this kind of insidious corporatism," he added.

According to Sheldon, a survey of 1,100 ride-share drivers in Australia last October found the average pay is just 16 Australian dollars (11.23 U.S. dollars) per hour before fuel, well below the legally required national minimum wage of 18.93 Australian dollars (13.29 U.S. dollars) per hour.

"This company demands that people invest in their vehicles so they take out loans, and yet at the whim of the company, without any explanation, literally you can turn up to work the following morning and find yourself deactivated," Sheldon said.

With similar protests against Uber also taking place in the United States, Britain, France, Brazil, Nigeria and Chile, a spokesperson for the company said, "drivers are at the heart of our service."

"We can't succeed without them and thousands of people come into work at Uber every day focused on how to make their experience better, on and off the road."

The State of Victoria is currently undergoing an inquiry into the gig-economy and the on-demand workforce, with the findings expected to be outlaid at the end of 2019.

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