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Uber Uberman Denmark
The character Poul Uberman explained the dangers of the gig economy

Danish union calls for authorities to pursue Uber, not just its drivers

On the back of its successful campaign against Uber, the 3F union is calling for the ride-hailing company to feel the full force of the law.

Last week, the Danish Supreme Court upheld earlier judgements and fined four former Uber drivers for using their private vehicles to transport passengers.

One unlicensed driver illegally ran 5,427 Uber trips and was ordered to pay a DKK486,500 (USD75,700) penalty. Danish prosecutors have 1,500 more cases to pursue.

Uber operated illegally in Copenhagen for two and a half years before new taxi legislation was enacted in the spring of 2017.

The ITF-affiliated 3F union campaigned vigorously to stop the “pirate taxis”. A comedian played the role of fictitious Poul Uberman to deliver their message to the public that the gig economy will ruin the Nordic welfare state model. 

With 70 percent of public opinion in support of the 3F campaign, the number of Uber drivers in Copenhagen never exceeded 1,800, where 2,000 taxi drivers operate. It meant that Uber’s tactic of flooding the streets with their vehicles to outnumber taxis failed.

The company’s petition against the new law was also unsuccessful, with less than 10 percent of its 300,000 users supporting Uber’s appeal.

3F union leader Jan Villadsen welcomed the decision: "The really big villain in this is, of course, Uber itself. Therefore, I assume that there is now also a case against Uber and its responsibility for its involvement in illegal activities.

“It can’t just be the small fish that are being punished.”

Mac Urata, the ITF’s future of work coordinator, added: “Nobody is against innovation, but citizens need salaries, pensions and benefits. The 3F campaign is a fine example of how we can expose the dangers of the gig economy.”

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