Uber Drivers Launch Legal Battle Over Favouritism
• The App Drivers & Couriers Union has launched a legal challenge in a bid to understand how the Uber’s algorithms pair drivers with ride requests. See here for more details.
• The union wants Uber to be more transparent about how the data it collects impacts drivers, and whether it leads to favouritism.
• Uber has always said that it does not manage its self-employed drivers.
• This news comes as Uber prepares to attempt to overturn a UK court ruling that its drivers are workers rather than independent contractors. The company's appeal began at the Supreme Court last Tuesday, where it argued that it is not an employer. The judgement from the court could be weeks before it’s handed down.
• Moreover, we understand that the UK gig economy employs circa 4.7m people; the ruling is expected to have wide-ranging implications for the sector's future.
UK Retail Sales Continued Their Bounce Back
• In June, as the reopening of shops released pent-up demand, the amount of goods sold increased by 13.9%, said the Office for National Statistics this morning (ONS).
• The rise followed record falls in April and a partial recovery in May as the Covid-19 pandemic led to shop closures and significantly reduced spending.
• Sales were boosted by food stores, which reached new highs for the pandemic period.
• The ONS said the rebound brought overall retail sales back to a similar level to where they were pre-lockdown, but it added that there was a "mixed picture" in different store types.
• June’s retail sales were always going to be better due to their collapse in April, and May due to the lockdown, while the rise was at the top end of economist forecasts, sales were still marginally 1.47% down on a year ago. See here for more details.
• All in all the decline is now reversing and long may it continue!
Free Now and Kapten Launch Joint Service in Bid to Rival Uber
• Black cab app Free Now and Kapten last week launched their newly combined service in a bid to rival Uber in the UK.
• The new service, is available through a new app under the Free Now brand, allegedly gives users access to 35,000 drivers in London alone.
• They say that it’s the first time that passengers will be able to hire black cabs and private vehicles using a single app. See here for more details.
• Seems like the app will allow passengers to have more choice, and let them avoid situations such as surge pricing for private hire vehicles.
• The black cab option would also be preferable for people when travelling in groups of four or more.
• All in all, initially it might be a bit confusing to the average Joe on the street? However, is it the future?
Lockdowns Have Not Significantly Reduced Covid-19 Deaths?
• A scientific study by the University of Toronto and the University of Texas published this week suggests Covid-19 lockdowns imposed by governments may not have worked as well as initially hoped.
• The scientists argued such drastic steps haven't worked as well as hoped, finding the death toll is "not associated" with whether a country was in lockdown or not.
• Rather, the general health, including average age and obesity rates, have played the biggest role in explaining differences in fatalities between countries from the disease.
• See here for the published research paper.
• It kind of makes sense, however at this stage of the game, we don’t know what to believe and just wished this was all over already…
R Value Rises Slightly in London
• The Covid-19 R value in the South West could still be as high as 1.1, according to the latest government data, released late last Friday afternoon.
• In London, the R rate was higher, between 08-1.1, up from 0.7 and 1.0 previously.
• Whilst the R value across England was stable at 0.8-1.0.
• Meanwhile, the UK’s daily new infections and death rates continues to maintain a flattened trend (see chart below).
• Furthermore, the virus seems to be gaining momentum in Spain (and some other countries) again (see chart below).
• Could we be cancelling our trip to Puerto Banus next month?
• It’s concerning that the R Value is estimated to be above 1 in the South West and London.
• However, speaking to The Sunday Telegraph last weekend, Boris Johnson compared the option of a nationwide shutdown to a "nuclear deterrent", adding he does not think the country "will be in that position again".
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
― Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan