Uber drivers in seven US cities are planning to turn their app off for 12 hours on 8 May in a row over working conditions and wages.
Gig Workers Rising, which is helping to organise the protest, said some drivers are paid below the minimum wage levels required by some states and only slightly above the national rate.
The news comes as Uber releases its plan for listing shares on the stock market for the first time, which is set for the same day as the protest.
Drivers involved in the protest have four key demands: higher wages; clearer policies on pay, tips, how fares are shared and disciplinary action; employee benefits such as health care, disability payments and holiday pay; and recognition and representation for drivers in Uber’s management structure.
Figures show the average Uber or Lyft driver is paid $8.55 per hour in the US. The national minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour, but some states have set much higher rates, such as California, where the minimum wage is $11.
The protest will involve drivers in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Washington DC, while a demonstration will take place outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco on the same day.
In a letter to the company, drivers said they fear their pay rates could be cut following the IPO to make the business more attractive to shareholders.
Shona Clarkson from Gig Workers Rising told the Guardian: “Uber’s much-anticipated IPO will put millions into the pockets of executives, but the drivers who are the core of the service of the company will get nothing.”
Uber is hoping for a valuation of US$90 million (£70 billion) when it floats and plans to list shares for between $44 and $50 each. It will sell $500 million in shares to PayPal.
The company warned earlier this month that it might not make a profit as it expects its operating costs to increase “significantly”.