Ride-sharing service Uber’s latest controversy has struck in Brazil with the country’s president saying the company is increasing unemployment amid global labor concerns about the valuable start-up’s market share. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said it was up to local authorities to decide whether or not to approve proposed bans against Uber, Reuters reported.
“Uber is complicated because it takes jobs away from people ... It leaves taxis with less work,” said Rousseff, underscoring her insistence that the federal government would not make a decision about a ban on the company’s operations.
San Francisco-based Uber allows customers to hail rides through a mobile application. The majority of Uber drivers do not have expensive taxi licenses required of regular taxi drivers, spurring controversy and criticism from taxi drivers in multiple countries.
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, three of Brazil’s major cities, have moved to ban Uber. Given Rousseff’s remarks, the decision over bans is expected to move to local officials in other cities and states around the country. Uber declined to comment to Reuters on its latest global controversy.
In July, more than a thousand taxi drivers staged a protest against Uber during rush hour in Rio de Janeiro by blocking roads. One of the taxi drivers told Reuters at the time that he viewed Uber drivers as a violation of the law.
“We want to combat the illegal (drivers),” said taxi driver Alexander Campos. “We are the official ones, we have a responsibility, we are professionals who have families.”
In August, Brazilian taxi drivers assaulted an Uber driver, prompting calls that the issue needed to be resolved through legal channels.
In France, Uber has also received a chilly reception from Parisian taxi drivers, who took to the streets to protest. France’s Uberpop service was suspended in July and the company now awaits a court decision over claims that it helped unlicensed drivers get around regulations, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In the past year Uber has also dealt with cases of drivers assaulting passengers with an alleged rape case in India in 2014 making global headlines. The woman in that case on Tuesday voluntarily dropped her lawsuit against Uber.