NewsUber agrees to $178 million settlement with Australian drivers

Uber agrees to $178 million settlement with Australian drivers

Uber will pay a gigantic settlement
Uber will pay a gigantic settlement
Images source: © Getty Images | Artur Widak
4:22 PM EDT, March 18, 2024
Uber to Compensate Australian Taxi and Rental Car Drivers with Nearly $178 Million, Announces Maurice Blackburn Lawyers
Uber has agreed to compensate taxi and rental car drivers in Australia with nearly 178 million USD, according to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. This settlement comes as reparation for the losses incurred due to Uber's vigorous entry into the Australian market. The law firm announced that this settlement ranks as the fifth largest in the country's history.
The class action lawsuit, initiated in 2019 at the Supreme Court of Victoria, represented over 8,000 taxi and rental car owners and drivers. They accused Uber of engaging in unlicensed operation, a charge that was set to be examined on Monday, March 18, before Judge Lisa Nichols called it off following Uber's settlement agreement.
The root of the lawsuit was Uber's market entry in 2012, which saw a significant decline in earnings for licensed taxi operators and a drop in the value of their licenses. The plaintiffs argued that Uber X's introduction in Australia was aimed at disadvantaging local drivers, using vehicles and drivers that were not properly accredited.
Despite these allegations, Uber maintained its stance, asserting it had not intentionally violated any laws. A spokesperson for Uber, in a conversation with Reuters, highlighted the company's engagement in regional compensation schemes for taxi drivers since 2018, tagging the lawsuit’s complaints as resolved issues. "With today's proposed settlement, we are moving beyond these issues," he remarked.
Regulatory changes in 2015 enabled Uber to operate without taxi licenses, amid state-led compensation initiatives for affected taxi and license holders. Michael Donelly of Maurice Blackburn commented on the persistent defense Uber put up throughout the proceedings. "Uber finally conceded after persistently denying responsibility for those we claimed were impacted," he noted.
Rod Barton, a former MP and driver siding with the plaintiffs, reinforced the allegation that Uber deliberately operated without adhering to licensing requirements. In an ABC interview, he stated, "They chose to bypass fully licensed requirements, which gave them an undue advantage over traditional taxi services."
Nick Andrianakis, a seasoned taxi driver and an original plaintiff, expressed to The Guardian that the settlement marked a triumph for the taxi industry, which he felt was "demolished" by Uber's practices. This settlement not only addresses the financial losses but also brings closure to a contentious chapter in Australia’s transportation sector.
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