By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | NEW YORK (IDN) – Ahead of the inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States on January 20, analysts are far from certain whether he would take to policies that reduce nuclear dangers or resort to actions resulting in a suicidal arms race.

The guessing game is taking place against the backdrop of the United Nations General Assembly having confirmed that beginning March 2017, it would hold a conference open to all member states, to negotiate a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. The conference to be held at UN headquarters in New York will be divided into two sessions: from March 27 to 31 and from June 15 to July 7.

- Photo: 2021

South African Lawyers Sue Uber Car Service Seeking Employee Rights

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — South African law firm Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys is partnering with lawyers at Lehigh Day, a UK law firm, to launch a class action in South Africa against the ride-hailing firm Uber.

The case on behalf of drivers would recognize them as employees with benefits, rather than as independent contractors not covered by the legal minimum wage. Similar cases have been brought in California and New York with mixed success.

A recent decision by the UK Supreme Court noted that the system of control operated by Uber clearly placed drivers in a position of subordination and dependency in relation to the company.

Uber South Africa operates in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and East London, and in 2018, it was estimated to control 75% of the South African taxi market.

“Uber’s argument that it is just an app does not hold water when its behavior is that of an employer…. We are issuing a call to workers to stand up for their rights and join the class action against Uber.” Zanele Mbuyisa of Moleele Attorneys said.

For its part, Uber argues that the vast majority of drivers who use the Uber app say they want to work independently.

“We’ve already made significant changes with new safety features and access to quality and affordable private healthcare cover for drivers and their families, voluntarily,” Uber stated.

“At a time when we need more jobs, not fewer, we believe Uber and other platforms can be a bridge to a sustainable economic recovery.”

Uber drivers often do not own their own cars and have to work long hours to make ends meet on their current wages. Estimates suggest that there are between 12,000 to 20,000 drivers in South Africa using the Uber app who will be covered by the lawsuit. 

Last week, drivers in Nigeria for Uber Technology went on strike to demand a higher share of commissions because of higher gas prices and inflationary pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We spend so much repairing our cars, and on fuel,” said Seun Olaniyan, a Bolt driver in Oyo state, in the southern part of Nigeria. “If the company can increase their fare, there should be a meeting point for us where we both gain.”

Last week, Kenyan drivers issued a 30-day notice to go on strike in mid-May if the ride-hailing services are unable to address their concerns. 

By last June, Uber was operating in 15 major African cities, with some 60,000 drivers in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. African taxi companies have begun creating their own apps and still have an edge over foreign services. [IDN-InDepthNews – 26 April 2021]

Photo: Uber driver protest in Kenya. Source:

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