The Mumbai Police on Monday stopped drivers of app-based taxi aggregators Ola and Uber from marching from the Bharat Mata junction in Parel to Vidhan Bhavan, reported The Times of India. The drivers are demanding better wages and incentives.
Senior leaders of a drivers’ union and a few drivers were detained and taken to the Azad Maidan police station. Union leader Sunil Borkar said nearly 10,000 drivers and their families planned to march peacefully.
Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh General Secretary Govind Rao Mohite said the cab aggregators had guaranteed the drivers a profit of at least Rs 1.5 lakh a month when they launched the services but drivers do not earn even Rs 50,000 now, reported Mumbai Mirror. “Many young people took loans from the banks,” Mohite said. “They are finding it difficult to pay EMIs and this situation is driving them to commit suicide.” Mohite claimed that drivers were “treated like slaves” and urged Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take action.
A section of Ola drivers went offline on Sunday morning but the company said that it expects all its drivers to ply as usual. Ola said its policies are “designed to help driver partners function like entrepreneurs with absolute control over their income”.
Uber said a new fare mechanism being rolled out in Mumbai is estimated to increase the “gross earnings of driver partners by Re 1 a km”. “Those who drive around 8 hours a day, this is estimated to translate into a net earnings increase of Rs 2,000-2,200 a month,” it added. The company announced it has introduced a national fuel price index, “which will ensure that driver earnings are correlated with fuel price hikes”.
In October, Ola and Uber drivers went on a 12-day strike to press these demands. They called it off after state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote intervened. The drivers want higher income, a minimum base fare in the range of Rs 100 to Rs 150 depending on the car type and a per-kilometre fare of Rs 18 to Rs 23, the Hindustan Times reported.