• Case about right of drivers to seek passengers on streets
  • Uber decision comes day after cab strike snarls French roads

Uber Technologies Inc. was ordered to pay $1.3 million to a union of French cabbies in a clash over chauffeur services, a day after a taxi-driver strike snarled traffic across France.

A Paris civil court on Wednesday ordered Uber to pay the compensation in a 2014 dispute about whether chauffeur services can roam the streets as they wait for their next customer, or if they must return to a fixed place. Uber will appeal the decision, a company representative said in an e-mailed statement.

Tuesday’s French taxi strike aimed at chauffeured-car services disrupted traffic across the country. The cab drivers set fire to tires on the highway ring road around Paris, slowed access to the capital’s airports and blocked a highway near Marseille. The taxi drivers were protesting the proliferation of services like Uber -- the latest in a series of strikes by cab drivers and their unions, including one in June when some Uber chauffeurs were beaten and their vehicles burned.

Uber is fighting legal battles around the world brought by taxi drivers who say the San Francisco-based company gets to avoid regulations that bind established competitors. Its UberPop service, which features unlicensed chauffeurs, has been banned by courts from France to the Netherlands.

A lawyer for France’s National Taxi Union, Charles-Emmanuel Soussen, said Uber encourages its drivers, when unoccupied, to get into position near the zones where there is the highest customer demand. Wednesday’s decision isn’t about the Uber application or the way it works, and the merits of the original 2014 case are also under appeal, a representative for the San Francisco-based company said.

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