Brussels taxi drivers join the demonstration against Uber in France
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    Brussels taxi drivers join the demonstration against Uber in France

    Around thirty Brussels taxi drivers headed to Paris at dawn on Thursday, to join the movement in France. The demonstration was organised by French taxi federations and unions, to protest against Uber. Some taxi drivers also went to Lille, the organiser behind the Belgian movement has said. He did not give an exact number. A large coalition of French taxi federations and unions called for demonstrations in front of stations and airports all over France on Thursday.

    Taxi drivers are asking the State to increase checks for “illegal” taxis, which they think are not tough enough. They are thinking of the low price private transport application UberPOP in particular. It was launched by the American giant Uber, which is based in California.

    Since January, the French government has launched more than 420 lawsuits against non-professional taxis that use UberPOP. This was revealed by the French State Secretary for Transport, Alain Vidalies. But that hasn’t stopped the American company expanding: Uber has recently started trading in the French cities of Marseille, Strasburg, and Nantes. Much to the displeasure of local taxi companies.

    There have been several cases of assault against UberPOP drivers or users reported in France over the last few weeks.

    In Belgium, the car and driver transport service Uber is very controversial. The Belgian Transport Union (UBT), one of the professional FGTB centres, lodged a complaint against Uber with the Work Auditor. It is accusing them of using fake freelancers. The UBT has criticised the fact that Uber continues to trade, despite a conviction by the Brussels Trade Tribunal.

    There were several incidents in May involving Uber drivers and Brussels taxi drivers.

    Sarah Johannsoon