TechnologyUber pays $178 million to settle legal battle with Australian taxi drivers

Uber pays $178 million to settle legal battle with Australian taxi drivers

Global ride-hailing service Uber will pay A$272 million (US$178) to end a long-running legal battle with Australian taxi and rental drivers who lost benefits when the company entered the Australian market.

The class action against Uber was expected to go to trial in the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday, but Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, which represents 8,000 for-hire and taxi drivers, said the case would be dropped because Uber had agreed to the financial settlement.

Maurice Blackburn’s lead lawyer, Michael Donelly, said drivers and vehicle owners suffered financial losses due to Uber’s aggressive entry into the market in 2012, and that the company had avoided compensating them on an ongoing basis.

“On the doorstep of court and after years of refusing to do right by those we say were wronged, Uber has relented and thousands of ordinary Australians have come together to challenge a global giant,” he said.

A statement from Uber described the taxi industry’s complaints as “old issues” and said there were no regulations for its ride-sharing model anywhere in the world when the company began operating more than a decade ago.

“The rise of ride-sharing has boosted the overall Australian point-to-point transportation industry, bringing more choice and shared experiences to consumers, as well as new income opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers,” the statement said.

“Since 2018, Uber has made significant contributions to several nationwide taxi driver compensation plans, and with today’s proposed settlement, we firmly put those longstanding issues behind us.”

It is the fifth largest class action settlement in Australian history, reached five years after the process began.

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