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English Uber alles in London taxis? No way, TfL – taxi app titan

Flings lawsuit at capital's transport regulator

By Katyanna Quach, 17 Aug 2016

Uber is embroiled in another legal battle over Transport for London’s new rules, which will require all drivers to take a compulsory English test.

The multi-billion pound taxi app company has faced bans and protests worldwide. Black cab drivers have taken part in protests bringing traffic to standstill many times, prompting TfL to draft a proposal to restrict Uber’s hiring process.

TfL announced that all minicab drivers who are not from a majority English-speaking country must sit a B1-level comprehension exam to obtain a valid English language certificate, which will cost them £180. The new rules will be enforced from 1 October.

It’s not the only rule the regulator has imposed on private hire companies working in London. Cab companies must operate a call centre from London and drivers must have “hire and reward insurance” for vehicles the entire time they operate their vehicle – even when it’s not being used for private hire.

Uber recently set up a call centre in Ireland and opposes TfL’s rules about operating from the capital as well as the mandatory English test for foreign drivers.

The ride-share firm is also involved in another lawsuit with the trade union GMB, after the latter launched a legal challenge over the employment status of Uber drivers. Naturally, the company considers its drivers self-employed and thus not entitled to holiday pay or national wages, whilst GMB considers this unlawful.

Harsher regulations are coming into force for assetless "sharing" companies. Last week, Deliveroo, a food delivery company, said workers were not required to sign contracts that would see their salaries switch from an hourly rate of £7 plus £1 a delivery to a payment of £3.75 for each delivery.

Deliveroo bicycle riders had been striking in protest over the new payment scheme for over a week. ®

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