Uber plans to sign up 20,000 more drivers in UK as lockdown easing boosts trips

Uber is planning to sign up another 20,000 drivers in the UK by the end of the year after a surge in usage since lockdown rules were eased last month.

The ride-hailing app has seen a 50% increase in trips since rule changes on 12 April allowing bars and restaurants to serve customers outdoors as well as non-essential shops to open.

Demand is expected to rise more over the summer as restrictions are eased further.

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The increase in driver numbers will boost the app’s driver network in the UK to 90,000.

Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for northern and eastern Europe, said: "As cities open up and people start moving again, we are encouraging 20,000 new drivers to sign up."

Last month, Uber announced that it was giving basic employment protections to its UK private hire drivers after losing a Supreme Court battle.

Senior judges ruled earlier this year that drivers should be classed as workers rather than – as Uber had argued – self-employed contractors.

Uber’s response to the ruling means that drivers now have access to holiday pay and a pension scheme as well as entitlement to be paid at least the national living wage.

It also revealed that it would be contacting drivers with settlement offers to make up for shortfalls in past pay.

However, the company said its Uber Eats couriers would not be covered by the new terms, saying the Supreme Court decision was specific to the private hire industry.

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