Uber drivers protesting over low earnings and what they call the company's "faceless" nature are set to strike tomorrow. The protesting drivers have set up the Rideshare Drivers Network website outlining concerns over the cut Uber takes from each ride, a lack of job security and uncertainty about whether Uber cars are covered by personal insurance.
Organiser Sher Abid is expecting more than 100 drivers to join the strike.
Uber spokeswoman Nicky Preston said the company was reaching out to its drivers to address their concerns.
But one driver, who did not wish to be named, told the Herald on Sunday fulltime drivers often earned less than the minimum wage.
He also knew of drivers who invested in new cars only to have their accounts deactivated by Uber because of a customer complaint, without being told what the complaint was or given the chance to respond.
He said drivers wanted to talk directly to Uber about the issues, but their biggest problem was finding a person to talk to.
"They are faceless," he said.
"We don't even know how to contact them, to be honest, they don't have an email address.
"The only way we know how to contact them is to go in there, but then you just see some sort of front person or customer service representative."
With 6000 drivers now in New Zealand and 450,000 Kiwis regularly using the service, Uber said it had been running more events to engage with drivers.
Preston said a recent Uber survey of 362 drivers found 78 per cent were satisfied, 90 per cent were likely to continue as drivers and 38 per cent primarily worked as drivers to supplement an existing income.
Almost 30 per cent drove for fewer than 10 hours a week.
She said the company also recently introduced "paid wait time, ratings protection features and fuel discounts via a partnership with BP" to help drivers.
Other benefits already provided to drivers included vehicle maintenance and financial management assistance programmes, she said.
But protest organiser Abid said many of Uber's policies remained unclear to drivers.
Car insurance was an example.
Although Uber has said publicly that its drivers do not need commercial insurance and that it would help drivers with personal insurance who were refused claims by insurers, Abid said he had not seen a written Uber policy guaranteeing this.
Many drivers were now taking out expensive commercial insurance policies as a result.
He said protesting drivers wanted Uber to make its policies clear to drivers and to reduce its share of fees down to as low as 10 per cent.
Uber takes a 25 per cent "service fee" for GST registered drivers. For non-GST registered drivers the fee is 28 per cent.
"The problem is that technology advances so fast and the regulations and law take a while to catch up," he said.
"We formed the group to bring the issues we as drivers face on a day-to-day basis to the media and the public."