Police in Mumbai issued notices to the leaders of an “indefinite strike” by Ola and Uber drivers that started on Monday, PTI reported. The notices were issued under Section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code to prevent unlawful assembly.
The strike is being organised by the transport wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, and drivers in other major cities including Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune are likely to join it. They have said drivers earn much less than what they were promised initially because of mismanagement by the taxi aggregator companies.
“If we find any cab on the road after Sunday midnight, we will request the driver with folded hands,” Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena told The Times of India. “If he does not listen, we may handle the issue Maharashtra Navnirman Sena-style.”
Naik claimed thousands of drivers will join the strike. Some unions have opposed the strike but many drivers may still stay off the roads out of fear, reports said.
On Monday afternoon, MNS leader Nitin Nandgaonkar was seen breaking the windshield of a taxi plying in Mumbai, ANI reported.
The strike affected passengers at the Mumbai airport. Long queues were reported outside the airport’s prepaid taxi counter, The Hindu reported.
The taxi aggregators have sought police protection for drivers who want to operate, The Times of India reported.
Demands by drivers include that the taxi aggregators ensure that drivers earn the amounts they were promised initially, stop giving priority to company-owned vehicles, reinstate drivers who were blacklisted because of low ratings, and stop booking low-fare rides.
“Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they [drivers] are unable to cover their costs,” Naik said earlier. “They have invested Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month, but are unable to even make half of this, owing to the mismanagement by these companies.”
He also said that Uber and Ola give priority for rides to cars they own over vehicles owned by drivers, and this has hit the earnings of such drivers. The drivers said they would switch off their devices from Sunday midnight. They will protest along with their families outside the offices of Uber and Ola, Naik told DNA earlier.