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Fear of price increase taxi fares amid petrol crisis

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Taxi passengers braced for a financial blow as the petrol crisis boosted demand amid warnings of expensive fares.

Taxi company Free Now said they had been overrun by customers over the weekend as the fuel chaos continued.

And it came when an Uber employee warned that prices could be high because it was difficult to get gas to power the cars.

Driver Tommy Hopper said online: “I’m an Uber driver and can’t work because I can’t get gas,

“Ubers will be very expensive this morning due to the lack of drivers.

“Many of our cars are hybrid, but they still need gasoline, the gasoline engine charges the battery.”

Taxi drivers protest fuel price in Liverpool city center earlier this month

Cars queue at a Tesco garage in London's Frien Barnet today as the fuel slaying continues

Cars queue at a Tesco garage in London’s Frien Barnet today as the fuel slaying continues

Uber driver Tommy Hopper said fuel scarcity prevented him from working

Uber driver Tommy Hopper said fuel scarcity prevented him from working

A spokesperson for Free Now said there was an increase in people wanting cars.

They added: ‘Over the past weekend, the demand for taxi rides with the FREE NOW taxi ride app increased by 20%.’

To make matters worse, a number of Uber drivers are on strike on Tuesday over issues such as wages and claims that employees are being unfairly fired.

Members of the App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) will hold protests in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, urging people not to use the service during the 24-hour strike .

The union accuses the company of failing to comply with a court order over paying waiting time, which it claims accounts for about 40% of an Uber driver’s working time, and alleges that large numbers of drivers are unfairly fired.

Out of order signs are displayed today on fuel pumps in a Shell garage in London's Muswell Hill

Out of order signs are displayed today on fuel pumps in a Shell garage in London’s Muswell Hill

Cars refuel at a BP petrol station in Wetherby near Leeds, after a long wait for fuel again today

Cars refuel at a BP petrol station in Wetherby near Leeds, after a long wait for fuel again today

Tesco staff led the queues during a rain storm on Monday morning at the petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire,

Tesco staff led the queues during a rain storm on Monday morning at the petrol station in Ely, Cambridgeshire,

Uber insisted it work with unions to raise standards for drivers.

The union is also in dispute over the introduction of fixed-price tariffs, which it says have resulted in lower incomes for drivers.

Yaseen Aslam, chairman of the ADCU, said: “It is shameful that Uber continues to defy the country’s highest court to defraud 70,000 workers for 40% of their actual working time.

“The drivers know they deserve it and are legally entitled to much more than Uber offers.

“This strike is just the beginning and there will be a lot more turmoil until Uber does the right thing and pays drivers everything they owe, both pension contributions and working hours.”

General Secretary James Farrar added: “Uber has continued to intensify its use of clutter-monitoring technology and algorithmic management control to maximize profits.

The results were catastrophic, with hundreds of people being unfairly fired and charged with unspecified ‘fraudulent activities’.

“Instead of trying to silence unions to expose flaws in their technology, Uber should instead protect all drivers from unfair dismissal and the right to access a proper human-led appeals process.”

An Uber spokesperson said: “After the union’s landmark recognition agreement with GMB, drivers will have an even stronger voice within Uber.

“We are working with our union partner to raise standards for drivers through greater transparency and engagement.

‘GMB represents drivers in areas such as earnings, deactivations and the introduction of new employment conditions, such as holiday pay and pensions.’

Uber formally recognized the GMB earlier this year and said the union could represent up to 70,000 Uber drivers in the UK.

Uber announced in March that 70,000 drivers will be treated as workers, earning at least the national living wage, with paid vacation time. Those who qualify are automatically enrolled in a retirement plan.

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