Wage dispute could mean Uber and out

Uber arrived in Midlothian last October.
Uber arrived in Midlothian last October.

Uber taxi drivers in Midlothian have had their minimum wage guarantee withdrawn, just seven months after the service launched.

There are currently only two Uber drivers in Midlothian, with the company’s local office based at Bilston Glen.

A friend of one of the drivers who wanted to remain anonymous contacted the Advertiser, furious at how the drivers have been treated.

He said: “Uber said they would be guaranteed £10 an hour for working 5pm to 1am Monday to Thursday and £15 an hour and Fridays and Saturdays at the same times. That’s how they were running.

“Obviously if your are building up something you have some lean times. But they were putting in 70 hours a week sometimes.

“Then a week past Thursday Uber said they were stopping the minimum wage guarantee on the Sunday.

“So they now only get 75 per cent of the fare. My friend did eight hours for £30 yesterday which isn’t good enough.

“They are kind of stuck now, but they will maybe have to speak to other Midlothian taxi companies.

“Uber has just left them out to dry. The local manager held his hands up and said it’s London’s doing. He agreed it’s a disgrace to give no notice, no nothing.”

The friend believes this wage issue will lead to the end of the service in Midlothian.

He said: “Effectively this will kill the Uber service here. It was picking up, there were only two of them working there but they have been hung out to dry.

“My friend invested £20,000 in Uber, what with buying a new car and getting the insurance.

“They spoke about negotiations going forward but, to be honest, the way their manager was speaking to them there is no hope at all of a compromise.

“It just seems to be the way Uber work, get people in and work them like hot tatties. Uber are just interested in Edinburgh, that’s where the money is, the big cities, not places like Midlothian.”

A spokesman for Uber said that the company is currently moving to a new structure in Midlothian, adding: “When we launch in a new area we often provide temporary incentives so drivers who partner with us do not lose out while we build our business.

“Our app wouldn’t work if drivers do not think we were a competitive and attractive opportunity. We’re currently in the process of moving to a new more targeted incentive structure so drivers can make the most out of our app.”