Akriti Bhatia, the co-founder of Jan ki Baat interviewed a group of Ola and Uber drivers who were on a strike against their companies. This is the fourth day of the driver’s strike and they haven’t got a court hearing or a considerable coverage in the media. How many more days can they sustain the strike?
The drivers are of the view that they were lured into this business with lofty packages of 1.5 lakhs because of which some of them left their previous jobs and bought their own cars to associate with Ola and Uber. Now that they are in the business, some of them hardly earn Rs.2000/- after driving for 12-14 hours. The plans and schemes change on a regular basis and the drivers fail to understand the nuances of this app-based system. Due to the newly introduced Uber-pool and Ola-share, the drivers hardly earn Rs.70 after driving a total of 14kms and Rs.49, driving 12 kms.
Moreover, the companies have introduced their own fleet cars and the duties are given to the drivers driving the cars under the company if a total of 10 cars, private and the company’s, are present in the same vicinity. There is no insurance if a driver dies while on duty. There has been a case in Vasant Vihar where a BMW rammed against a Wagon R cab which resulted in the death of the cab driver, it gained a little media coverage but no remuneration was paid to the driver’s family. The companies sell a car worth Rs.5 lakhs for as much as 9 lakhs. They initially takes an amount of Rs.35,000/- and then the rate of Rs.1000/- per day. After completing a certain target, their cars aren’t visible on the app. The drivers said that the instances and allegations of fake bookings against them is false and that the company cuts 20,000 or 26% of their money as a commission.
The drivers hence demand that they should get the government decided rate of Rs.12.5 per km. Pool and Share facilities should be disabled as Pool and Share facilities significantly cut down their rate of Rs.12 per km to Rs.3 per km. If the company owned vehicles and private vehicles are present in the same vicinity, there shouldn’t be a bias in assigning the duties to them.
These days of the Uber-Ola strike have been tough for both the drivers as well as the passengers. Drivers owning personal vehicals are protesting against the companies while the drivers of the company owned cars continue to run uninterrupted. These drivers will end their strike only if the company, the government and the drivers are able to reach a solution. Meanwhile, the commuters continue to suffer. With the ever-changing schemes and plans will the Ola-Uber companies and drivers ever reach on a settlement?