Uber and Ola drivers in Mumbai are threatening to go on strike if their demands are not met by the state government. According to IE, the drivers are seeking an increase in the base fares of their services.
Drivers claim that the base fare of Rs 6 per kilometer is too low, which is resulting in operational losses. The rise in fuel prices and higher fares of rival transport services are being blamed for the losses. To put this into perspective, the base fare of an autorickshaw is Rs 18 for the first two kilometers, and Rs 22 for a black-and-yellow taxi.
“We will address the Chief Minister and State Transport Minister Diwakar Raote on Friday and ask them to consider our complaint and increase the base fares. If they do not do the same, we will call a strike. As many as 80,000 to one lakh drivers on the platform are expected to join us,” the IE report quotes Raju Patil from the Sangharsh Taxi Chalak Malak Sanghatana as saying.
The report adds that the Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh (another workers’ union) will be approaching Uber’s office on October 22 to demand an increase in the salaries of the drivers. The members are demanding that base rates be increased between Rs 18 and Rs 23 depending on the type of car.
The report further quotes Patil as saying, “Almost two years later, we are yet to see implementation of the tourist cab policy in the state. Almost a year has passed since the state-appointed committee gave its recommendation on the minimum and maximum base fares. But there is no movement on it. Our losses are mounting and there is no update on the implementation of the policy.”
This isn’t the only instance of Uber and Ola drivers threatening to go on strike. Drivers across various unions have said that they intend to hold an agitation later this month on October 22.
Besides an increase in the base fare, the drivers have demanded KYC of customers, removal of the the daily 200 km limit for the drivers, lower daily installments on cars, and insurance along with ESI/ health cards. Neither of the companies have issued an official statement regarding this issue.