KOCHI: A section of Uber drivers has started an indefinite offline strike on Thursday to challenge the alleged anti-labour policies adopted by the online cab aggregator. As part of the protest, the drivers under the banner of Self-Employed Drivers Union (SEDU) remained offline. “Uber has taken several anti-labour policies over the past five years.
Many of us have taken loans worth Rs 15 lakh to buy a car for the service. If we deduct the maintenance and diesel expense from the revenue, there is nothing much left. Forgetting the promises they made, they have gradually reduced the incentives and other benefits. Now, they are expelling drivers who end up in petty cases. They should either stop their service in the city or do away with the anti-labour actions,” said Das G, SEDU Ernakulam district president.
The protest saw the participation of more than 100 drivers in the temporary shack erected before the Uber office in Kadavanthra. Drivers alleged rampant contractual violations by Uber during the surge rate period. However, Uber has reiterated its commitment to customers and rejected the protest of SEDU.
“There are many malpractices in pricing. We often receive below 30 per cent of the actual payment made by the customer. The company is ignoring the rates set by the state governments for taxi services and charges their commission and GST from our limited revenues,” said Dilsankar, a protesting driver.
“We regret the disruption caused to riders due to a small group of individuals.
We remain committed to serving the city and ensuring that our driver-partners continue to access a stable income while giving riders a convenient, reliable option to get around Kochi,” said the Uber spokesperson. The protest was supported by the district wing of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC). Niyas M A, a trade union leader, V S Sunilkumar, district joint secretary, AITUC, and P A Girar, district committee member of AITUC, spoke on the occasion.