Taxi and Hire Car Drivers in Victoria are preparing to sue Uber for hundreds of millions of dollars in lost earnings. It will be alleged Uber operated illegally when they launched in Victoria without legal approval in the state, according to the Australian Associated Press.
Lawyers acting for the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Association of Australia (CPVAA) are expected to lodge a class action in the Victorian Supreme Court over the coming weeks.
“We expect it to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” Maurice Blackburn senior associate Elizabeth O’Shea said.
According to O’Shea, there is still “a bit of paperwork” to be finalised but about 1000 people who held a licence while Uber was “operating unlawfully” and lost income or licence value have joined the action.
Uber’s Victorian state manager, Lucas Groeneveld, said the company had not received notice of the class action and would continue to focus on delivering service.
“Thousands of Victorians have embraced Uber as a reliable choice to get from A to B and the government has recognised ride-sharing as part of the transport mix across the state,” he said.
‘Uber will fight us the whole way’
CPVAA president Rod Barton, says the legal action is not anti-competitive or anti-Uber but drivers were “filthy” that the ride share giant had undercut legal drivers at the time.
“The government has absolutely failed us, we had to make a strategy and the advice was consistent to go after Uber because the government would drag it out.”
Barton said he expects Uber to “fight us the whole way” and the case could drag out for years. The class action will be bankrolled externally and reportedly already has $20 million in funds.
Affected drivers – those who believe they were impacted by Uber between April 1 2014 and July 31, 2017 – can still join the claim.