WHEN: Saturday 31 October, from 13:00
WHERE: Uber car park, Beehive Ring Road, RH6 0PB

Local taxi drivers will launch a campaign to call for action against the proliferation of London based Uber vehicles in and around Gatwick and Crawley which are causing hardship for local drivers whose livelihoods have already been hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Campaigners are holding a rally (on Saturday 31 October) to call on Crawley borough council to step up pressure on Transport for London and Uber to limit the operations of London licensed vehicles in Sussex.

Campaigners are calling for a change in Uber's 'Geo Fence' meaning Uber vehicles should only be able to receive requests from the Uber app in the region where the licencing authority is based.

800 local taxi drivers have signed a petition demanding action to rein in the activities of London based Uber vehicles. On 31 October Uber is ceasing its operation from a designated waiting area within the Beehive lane industrial estate near Crawley. There is now a great deal of uncertainty about where hundreds of Uber vehicles will move to.

Local taxi and private hire drivers, who are concerned for their livelihoods and the local economy where Crawley faces 57% unemployment, are speaking out.

One local taxi driver, Zak Ben said: ‘As taxi drivers we are embedded in the fabric of our communities. From business professionals to school mums, there isn’t anyone we don’t pick up and we know our town is struggling right now. We can’t afford to allow a multinational to take much needed business out of our local economy, it’s not on.”

Another driver, Dan Barnes said: ‘Right now our industry is operating at around 30%. Those drivers that aren’t working – aren’t earning! If people can’t work then they can’t spend any money. It’s that simple. How can our town recover from the pandemic if we are out of jobs? Uber working here is just heaping on the pressure.’

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: "Crawley's economic dependence on Gatwick airport means the town is being badly affected by the Coronavirus crisis.

"Local taxi and private hire drivers are launching a campaign to ensure Crawley borough council and other local councils pile the pressure on Transport for London and Uber to restrict London based Uber vehicles from picking up fares around Gatwick and Crawley. The drivers are calling for a fair and level playing field.

"It’s wrong for a giant multinational with a controversial track record to damage local employment. We urge the councils to take action to support the economy in and around Gatwick and Crawley."

ENDS

For more information contact Ciaran Naidoo 07768 931 315

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.