HYDERABAD: Drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola in Hyderabad will join the nationwide indefinite strike from Saturday midnight. The drivers have put forth a set of six demands that have to be met by the taxi aggregators. The drivers of Hyderabad will be joined by drivers from Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune. The strike is set to affect several thousands of Uber and Ola users, who rely on the cab aggregator for their daily commute.
This is not the first time the cab drivers are going on strike, but this time it is a nationwide strike. The drivers have gone on strike early 2017 and many times after fellow drivers killed themselves over debt. None of those protests struck a chord with the cab aggregators who refused to acknowledge the union. The cab aggregators consider the drivers as partners, on contract and not as employees. Both Ola and Uber refused to comment on the nationwide strike. In October 2017, Nagu Mahesh an Ola cab driver from Uppal killed himself over debts and inability to pay his vehicle EMI. The drivers then chose not to protest but to organise with fellow cab drivers with other states.
The efforts to team up with other taxi drivers gained momentum in January 2018 when the cab union heads were brought together in Mumbai and Delhi to develop plans for a nationwide agitation. Until then cab aggregators of different states fought their battles alone. “It’s a good thing that we have all come together, it helps improve our bargaining power. The cab aggregators will now have to acknowledge our problems,” said Sunil, president Telangana Cab Drivers Association.”We have put forward a set of six demands,” he added.
The drivers are demanding that the cab aggregators take notice of their falling returns. “Most drivers take a loan of `5 to `10 lakh for buying a vehicle to drive with these cab aggregators. Their advertisements promise great profits for the driver but the reality is that drivers don’t earn enough to pay even EMI for their vehicles,” Sunil added.
The increasing number of cabs not backed by customer demand is attributed as the reason behind the drop in revenue. “It’s easy to get a loan now, most people take a Murdra loan to get a car. So now there are a lot of drivers but fewer customers. The benefits of surge charge also don’t come to us. The cab aggregators also levy fine on us even for the silliest of reasons, even if the fault is with the customer,” he added. The drivers also allege that the cab drivers give more preference in terms of remuneration and tips to lease vehicles of cab aggregators over the self-owned vehicles.
Source: Indian Express