Apr 18, 2017 07:05 PM IST | Source:

Ola, Uber driver’s strike: Kejriwal government gets 10-day ultimatum

The protest is broadly against a gradual withdrawal of incentives by the cab aggregators resulting into a major cut in take-home salaries

The day-long strike by drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola citing reduced wages failed to make any major impact on commuters in Delhi-NCR as cabs remained available throughout the day.

Commuters witnessed a marginal spike in fares for select routes in the morning which normalised as the as the day went by.

The drivers took out a march from Majnu Ka Tija in North Delhi district to the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

"We submitted our petition to the officials at the CM's residence and have requested for a response in the next 10 days," said Kamal Singh Rathore, treasurer of Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi.

"If we do not hear from them in 10 days, we plan to organise an all-India strike," he added.

The drivers are demanding that Ola and Uber abide by the fares prescribed by the Delhi Government for taxis. They also expressed concern over the shared services offered by the two companies.

The strike was called by multiple drivers associations including Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi and Delhi-NCR Driver Taxi Association among others.

The protest is broadly against a gradual withdrawal of incentives by the cab aggregators resulting into a major cut in take-home salaries.

Uber and Ola did not respond to emails.

The protest also received a lukewarm response from the drivers who chose to work despite the strike.

The High Court on Monday had also issued an injunction restraining taxi unions from preventing cab drivers from going about their work.

Earlier, the drivers of Ola and Uber had staged a 13-day strike in February. The strike was called off only after the Delhi government had a meeting with striking drivers and representatives of Uber and Ola.

The Delhi government had also assured the drivers of their welfare particularly of those "harassed" without having been given an opportunity to be heard by the companies.

"This time, the taxi unions could not give a strong message. Normally strikes like these work either when you are too big, like an auto union or are a part of public transport union -- something like BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) in Bangalore. If BMTC strikes today nearly 5 million people will be affected," said Jaspal Singh, Partner at Valoriser Consultants.

"The High Court order also played a big role in keeping the cabs on the roads. Even the drivers have now realised that they have EMIs to pay. If they will not work, their income will suffer. Such strikes are mostly put up by the unions," he added.

In the last couple of years, both Ola and Uber attracted a lot of drivers with incentives. At that time, the growth was happening in double digits. The supply of drivers was less so they were getting more number of bookings.

According to Singh, the supply in almost all the cities has doubled in the last 1.5 years which has reduced the number of bookings received by each driver. This has happened at a time when both Uber and Ola have also rationalised their commissions as they target profitability.
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