Tuesday, April 16, 2024
In its early days, Uber claimed drivers could earn a substantial living. Now it promotes the idea that it is a "gig" job or side-hustle. Image: Earla Phillips
Opinion/ColumnRide Hailing news

Uber launched with claims of $90,000 income

Could the “gig economy” be coming for your job?

by Earla Phillips

Driver Earla Phillips

Uber has done a great job of convincing the public that it is just a “gig.”

It didn’t start out that way.  It started in many cities by advertising that you could make fantastic money: early on, they were advertising on billboards that you could make $90,000 plus per year driving. You can’t do that with just a part time “gig.” In Toronto, drivers were offered and paid $25 per hour just to stay online all day.

Over the years as they flooded the roads, they were sued for misleading advertising.  So, they changed the message, making it just a “gig” with flexibility. 

Do you really believe that they could provide consistent service without “full time” drivers?  No, they wouldn’t be able to.  They even got a taxi brokerage license in Toronto.  Just for part timers and occasional workers?  Nope.

They publicly say “This is a great flexible gig to make some extra earnings,” but once you are a driver you get flooded with messages with offers like “Quests” and such; or Uber Pro points, the more points the more offers.

Currently, they are offering incentives to be paid to drivers who convert to EV, but you have to drive a lot to qualify and only the full timers will get the higher amounts.  Full timers don’t work 40 hours.  They are working up to 60 or more hours.

Now that the roads are so flooded with more drivers than demand would support, they are working 60-90 or more hours per week just to attempt to make what they used to make in the beginning.

What many don’t realize in all of this is that the GIG ECONOMY is coming for everyone’s jobs. 

Corporations are always looking for ways to cut costs and if they can find a way to “gigify,” they will.  Oh, you’re a nurse?  Nurses can be had for $20 an hour. 

Tech professional?  Tradesperson?  You can download an app and devalue the skills of any worker and get work for cheap, with no responsibility under the Employment Standards Act just because you say they are an Independent Contractor.

Why?  All in the name of dollars.

Think twice before you think that the gig economy is a good thing, that it’s all in the name of flexibility.

Gigification is all about the money.

An historical image of the income claims Uber used to make, before it lost a lawsuit and switched its key message from “big money” to “gig flexibility.” Image: Earla Phillips