The taxi industry has launched a class action alleging that Uber operated illegally in Australia.

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers says more than 6000 people have joined the class action suit, including drivers across Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

It alleges Uber's operations in Australia were illegal because Uber drivers were not properly licensed and did not have proper accreditation, and the company knew it.

“Make no mistake, this will be a landmark case regarding the alleged illegal operations of Uber in Australia and the devastating impact that has had on the lives of hard-working and law-abiding citizens here,” Maurice Blackburn's national head of class actions Andrew Watson said.

“It is not acceptable for a business to place itself above the law and operate illegally to the disadvantage of others.”

Uber is accused of trying to avoid enforcement activities, giving it an unfair competitive advantage against taxi and hire care operators and drivers who complied with the law.

“Uber Inc adopted a policy to operate in any market where the regulator had tacitly approved doing so by failing to take direct enforcement action, effectively in complete disregard for any regulations which existed,” a summary of the class action's pleadings said.

Lead plaintiff and taxi driver Nick Andrianakis says Uber took his livelihood.

“My father owned and drove cabs, so it's been an industry and job that's in my blood and that I've loved my whole life - then suddenly that was all taken away because of the impact of Uber's illegal activities,” he said.

“I can clearly remember the day it all became too much - I just stopped driving that day and had to go home to be with my wife. It's a shocking thing to think of a life's work being stripped away from you, but this is what's happened to thousands of people nationwide.”

The costs of the case are being underwritten by a third party litigation funder.