Taxi drivers

Portugal is among the countries where Uber taxi drivers have used violence to gain benefits

Uber is used in several countries, including Portugal, to use violence by taxi drivers against Uber drivers to boost the company’s image and curry favor with governments, a press survey reveals.

The plan began to take shape in 2015, when the North American company’s strategists realized they could. Uber benefits from acts of violence against driversWinning public sympathy, an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ, its acronym in English) reveals Uber’s records.

One of the examples presented by the ICIJ investigation – cited by the newspaper “The Washington Post”, one of the “media partners” of this investigation – occurred in Portugal in 2015, when drivers of taxi have committed “acts of violence” against Uber drivers. In several cases, it caused injuries to several people and led to the hospitalization of one person.

According to ‘The Washington Post’ newspaper, Rui Bento, director of Uber in Portugal in July 2015, was quoted in an ’email’ to colleagues as saying the company was ‘considering’ providing information on the attacks. and injuries. For local media, ANTRAL, the largest union of taxi drivers in Portugal, tried to counter Uber’s expansion strategy.

In Rui Bento’s version, in the news, the idea was to spread information about taxi drivers’ attacks on Uber drivers.Make a direct link between these actions and the public declarations of violence by the president of ANTRAL (Florêncio Almeida).tarnish their public image.

In response to this message from Rui Bento, Yuri Fernandez, Uber’s communications manager, Explore the past of Florencio Almeida“To see if we have something ‘sexy’ for the media,” according to documents cited in the investigation.

Bento and Fernandez did not respond to requests for comment on the case, according to The Washington Post.

Competition with the Uber service in Portugal and the lack of regulation of its operations intensified in the first half of 2015, and at the end of June the National Transport Corporation upheld the injunction. Routes in light cars (ANTRAL), with the Central Court of Lisbon, to stop the operation of the technical platform.

The actions of Portuguese taxi drivers followed one another throughout the second quarter and resumed in September and October with simultaneous demonstrations in Lisbon, Porto and Faro.

At the time, Portugal was ahead of the legislative elections, which led to a change of government.

The regulation of technical platforms for passenger transport will come into force in 2018.

The ICIJ investigation presents similar cases in other countries, such as Switzerland, where a violent attack by a taxi driver in Geneva against an Uber driver was analyzed as a potential source of profits for the Bernese government.

During this Sunday’s hearing, Christian Samolovich, one of the company’s lobbyists, was quoted in a message he sent to a colleague in March of the same year, in which he confessed. Uber can use violence against its drivers to its advantageAfter a European Commission adviser wrote on social networking site Facebook that he had been attacked by Uber taxi drivers he was traveling in.

That week, four Uber drivers were attacked overnight in the Netherlands by taxi drivers protesting the benefits enjoyed by the American company, prompting Niek van Leeuwen, head of the organization for the European region, to report the situation. Then CEO Travis Kalanick.

With the approval of the company’s top management, Leuven expressed his angry reaction to the lawsuits in the Netherlands, taking the matter to the media and creating an internal statement in which he said: “We must keep this history of violence“.

From there, Uber began asking drivers to stand up to taxi driver violence, reminding them that it was the best way to protect the interests of the company they worked for.

Travis Kalanick has appeared in several news reports suggesting that Uber drivers are standing up to taxi drivers, despite the risk of physical assault, to fuel a “narrative of violence”.

A spokesperson for the former CEO told the Press Association that the statements were taken out of context and that Kalanick never intended to put the lives of Uber drivers at risk, but that current company officials were outraged by these practices.