Melbourne will be the first city outside the US to host trials of Uber Air, a service the company describes as “aerial ridesharing” that will shuttle people from rooftop to rooftop for the price of an UberX.
The company has flagged test flights will begin next year, with commercial operations to start in 2023.
The ridehailing company Uber does not directly employ its drivers, the Fair Work Ombudsman has said, because drivers have control over “whether, when, and for how long they perform work”.
The decision comes after an investigation into whether Uber’s “driver-partners” are lawfully classified as independent contractors or are effectively employees, as argued by unions and a lobby group, Ride Share Drivers United.
A class action filed on behalf of thousands of taxi and hire-car drivers against Uber alleges the global rideshare company operated illegally in Australia.
Maurice Blackburn Lawyers says more than 6,000 people have joined the action, covering drivers across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.
The Transport Workers Union of Australia has condemned the federal government’s plans to crack down on Uber drivers and Airbnb hosts who avoid paying tax.
Riders for the collapsed food delivery company Foodora have asked the federal government to sue the firm’s German parent after the administrators conceded the dispatchers were “more likely than not” employees.