Uber in Portugal ruled illegal for second time: cab drivers demand €25 million

Smartphone passenger service UBER got another kick in the teeth in Portugal as judges at Lisbon’s appeal court upheld the ruling that its activity here is illegal.

It is exactly what the nation’s ‘regular’ cabbies wanted to hear, with ANTRAL, the sector’s union, preparing a bid for €25 million in damages.

For UBER it is possibly just another bend in the road on the platform’s bid for global dominance.

The company has been battered by legal moves in various countries, but still manages to operate. In London, for instance, where the company lost its licence in September, the service continues as UBER goes to appeal.

But here, reports suggest there are no further avenues for appeal. Tabloid Correio da Manhã quotes ANTRAL’s legal counsel Abel Marques saying that if the company tries “it will be only to gain time and processual bad faith because they will always be refused”.

UBER doesn’t see it this way, telling the paper that the ruling doesn’t even apply as it has been lodged against a part of the worldwide business that doesn’t control operations in Portugal.

In a statement quoted by Público, the company said the situation shows the urgency needed for parliament to approve “a modern and transparent regulatory framework for mobility in Portugal that meets the expectations of the thousands of people who use UBER daily to travel in towns and cities and of the more than 3000 drivers who find UBER an economic opportunity”.

President of ANTRAL, Florêncio Almeida sees UBER’s position as trying to throw more ‘sand in people’s eyes’: “the case was against all three UBER companies”, he said: “The Portuguese, Dutch and American”.

ANTRAL is now hoping that communications authority Anacom “blocks” UBER’s online platform (rendering the business inoperable) and that the Bank of Portugal “prohibits all associated credit and debit cards”.

Meantime, the union is putting in for compensation to its members in the sum of €25 million, says Público, explaining that €10 million refers to “the accumulated debt” since the first legal ruling against UBER’s legality two years ago, and €15 “for damages caused” as a result of the passenger service’s activity.

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