Uber unhappy with BC's new policy for gig workers

Calls new expense 'unreasonable' in the 'middle of an affordability crisis'

Uber unhappy with BC's new policy for gig workers

British Columbia’s new policy for gig workers’ pay and tipping has stirred some controversy as ride-hailing company Uber expressed opposition to the new regulation, saying it is “set to drive up costs for residents and drive down demand for local businesses.”

BC’s new policy requires Uber and other driving and delivery apps like DoorDash and SkipTheDishes to pay their drivers $20.88 per working hour, beginning September 3. The new pay is 20% higher than BC’s regular minimum wage.

The province said the new pay rate was established to account for workers' time spent waiting between rides or deliveries when they are not being paid.

Aside from the new pay rate, the new regulation also requires that tips should go directly to the workers.

Uber challenges B.C.’s new rule around gas allowance

Uber Canada spokesperson Keerthana Rang said that they support the proposed wage increase for its drivers and even noted that 100% of its customer tips already go directly into the worker's pocket. However, according to Rang, the new provincial regulation also established a 35- to 45-cent minimum per-kilometre allowance to help workers cover their vehicle expenses, which the company saw as problematic.

“In the middle of an affordability crisis, a rideshare expense rate that is over 50% higher than the comparable rate in California is unreasonable," said Rang.

Uber is appealing to the BC government to review its policy since it will hurt citizens as delivery and riding services will become more expensive as the new regulation takes effect in September.

Meanwhile, BC Premier David Eby shrugged off Uber’s complaint, saying that they will be fine since they have been raking in billions of dollars in annual revenues. He also said that if ever Uber jacks their prices up, customers can simply use another app, which is cheaper.

Union praises B.C.’s protecting gig workers

On the other hand, gig workers praised the BC government for upholding the rights of workers, especially for a real living wage.

“B.C. is leading the way to enshrine the basic rights of the gig workers," said Unifor National President Lana Payne. The union leader said that the June 12 proposals will “take gig workers one step closer to economic fairness.”

Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle said that gig workers are some of the most exploited and underrepresented workers in the whole region, and the new regulation set by the provincial government will see them enjoying better pay and benefits.

The June 12 regulation released by the provincial government provides not only higher pay for gig workers and sure tips, but also guarantees some compensation for vehicle expenses, and adds some transparency to work assignments. The policy also stipulates that qualified gig workers will be covered by WorkSafeBC for job-related injuries.

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