Uber drivers eye IPO riches; call for strike in US, UK

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While the driver strike could hurt Lyft's and Uber's business operations for many days, it also raises investor concerns about the risks in the ridesharing business model that both of these companies follow. In its IPO filing, Uber said it had paid $837 million in "excess driver incentives" previous year. "There are high bonuses for many of their executives, when that money could instead be spent on their drivers to earn a livable income".

The same group planted the seed for Wednesday's protest, and many more local worker groups have announced similar strikes in solidarity.

Uber drivers from Australia to the United Kingdom, including in at least 10 U.S. cities, are logging off the app Wednesday to protest the company's Friday IPO offering.

Uber's valuation could be as high as $91 billion when trading begins, which would place it among the top three most valuable firms to ever debut on a US exchange.

Driver's from Uber competitor Lyft, which staged its own public stock launch last month, are also participating in the labor actions, which are mostly focused in large USA metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and Boston.

One Los Angeles Uber driver noted how big a role airport transportation plays in the company's overall ride volumes and is demanding fair compensation.

Nick Rose is a producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move. He plans to shut down his Uber operation Wednesday, joining other drivers in the Washington area at an evening rally at National Airport. "Look at how to help drivers make their living and survive". As the ride-hailing services have expanded, they also have become critical for public transit agencies in filling service gaps or providing paratransit services.

A study by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute found that Uber drivers earn "the equivalent of $9.21 in hourly wages", after factoring in expenses including commissions, vehicle fees and health insurance.

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Uber has changed drivers rates over the past couple of years, according to Harry Campbell, a Los Angeles driver who runs a popular blog called The Rideshare Guy.

"We don't want our wages to stay just minimum".

According to the NYTWA, drivers plan to strike in major cities across the United States as well as in Brazil, Australia, Chile, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Nairobi, and other nations.

"Both Uber and Lyft have said that the greatest threat to their investors is driver dissatisfaction".

Uber said it provides "full transparency" on rider fares and driver earnings on each trip, giving drivers the option to see their distance and mileage-based calculations within the app, including trip-by-trip and total earnings.

The move follows a troubled market debut for Uber´s largest U.S. rival Lyft, which has lost more than 15 percent of its value since its March IPO.

Uber did not respond to Al Jazeera's request for comment but, in a statement to USA media, a representative for the company said: "Whether it's more consistent earnings, stronger insurance protections or fully-funded four-year degrees for drivers or their families, we'll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers".

Lyft's IPO opened slightly higher than expected at $72 per share in March, before quickly dropping to the low $60 range, with today's current stock price at $60.48. The company said in the filing that it lost $1.8 billion in 2018, excluding certain transactions, on revenue of $11.3 billion.

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