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Protesting Uber drivers blockade access to Paris airports

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Protesting Uber drivers blockade access to Paris airports
File photo: AFP
08:15 CET+01:00
Drivers for American taxi app Uber and other ride hailing services held protests at Paris's two airports on Friday, partially blockading road access and forcing police to issue traffic warnings.
Drivers began gathering at the airports at around 5am planning to disrupt road access and create the kind of chaos seen during a similar protest last week that saw air passengers having to walk to airports.
 
Paris police reported that traffic was slow around both Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports at about 7am. Riot police were out in force to maintain the peace.
 
Drivers, who are demanding Uber improve their wages, also plan a go slow to the American company's headquarters in the 19th arrondissement of Paris.
 
Other protests are planned in other areas of the city including Avenue Victor Hugo.
 
"We call on all minicab (Known as VTC in France) drivers to stop working on Friday morning and boycott Uber," said Sayah Baaroun from the union Unsa-VTC.
 
The protests come following this week's failed negotiations between unions and bosses from ride-hailing app Uber.
 
The unions have been at loggerheads with Uber over the past week after a recent move by US ride-hailing giant to raise the commission it charged drivers for each ride from 20 percent to 25 percent.
 
Drivers' unions had demanded Uber either lower the commission or raise prices.
 
They also want the minimum cost of a journey raised from €5 to €8, as it was in the past, before Uber dropped the fee due to competition from other ride-hailing apps.
 
but those demands have not been met.
 
Uber's drivers, and the cabbies behind other similar app-based car services competing with traditional licensed taxi firms, say the US company is bypassing national labour protection standards while ignoring collective negotiation with its freelance drivers.
 
French Transport Minister Alain Videlies urged Uber last week to enter into discussions with all trade unions.
 
While the American company announced plans to pump €2 million into a support programme for hard-up drivers, unions said the move wasn't good enough. 
 
Friday's protest follows similar action last week that saw tailbacks at both airports and Porte Maillot on the city's western edge. 
 
Some airport-bound passengers were left with no choice but to finish their journey on foot. There were numerous reports of non-striking drivers being attacked by protesters and there are fears Friday's protests could also turn ugly.
 
Some protesting drivers said at the time that they were earning as little as €3.75 an hour.
 
Some held signs reading "Uber scam" and "Uber social scam" and "Uber = Modern slavery"

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