CLAIMING that app-based cab company Ola has agreed to work on their demands, a section of cab drivers called off the three-day strike on Wednesday night. Drivers working for tourist cab company Uber will continue with the strike.
The transport wing of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) had staged a strike since Monday demanding better financial remuneration for drivers. Since Monday, as many as 80,000 drivers of Ola and Uber supported the strike by staying offline on their mobile applications. About 25,000 drivers of Ola are expected to resume work on Wednesday.
“The Ola company has agreed to consider a hike in financial remuneration for the drivers within the next fifteen days. They have agreed to absorb drivers who were once blacklisted by the company for some reasons. They have agreed to be cautious while deducting incentives of drivers and ensure a happy working condition,” said Sanjay Naik, leader of the transport wing of the MNS.
Confirming that the strike has been called off, an Ola spokesperson said, “Ola would like to apologise to all its customers for the inconvenience caused due to factors beyond its control. With every passing hour, our cabs are fast getting back on the road to service the mobility needs of all customers.”
Since Monday, regular commuters using Ola and Uber had complained that they had to put up with rush in local trains and increased costs from drivers of kaali peelis due to the strike. Also, as many as 30 cases of vandalism which include damage to cars, theft or harm to the mobile devices of drivers of tourist cabs were reported by app-based companies including Ola and Uber in the last three days. The drivers had complained that they were being threatened by employee union forces to not take riders.
The cases have been registered in police stations in Malad, Versova, Andheri and Thane. Sources in the cab companies said that Ola has registered 24 cases of car vandalism and damage to mobile devices of drivers while Uber has recorded five of these cases. While 80 cabs of Ola were vandalised and 35 mobile phones of drivers were stolen, Uber recorded 50 cases of assault on drivers.
“My livelihood depends on my daily driving. Since yesterday, I am being pressurised not to log in to the taxi App to take bookings. I have put in my last four years’ savings to buy this taxi. I am feeling helpless for not being allowed to drive. I just want this to end so that I can get on with my driving and support my family,” Harish Ghate, a driver working with Ola, said.
Naik, however, said, “We had appealed to the drivers to refrain from driving their cars. We were doing it to ensure a better future.”
“Over the last 24 hours, a large number of our driver partners in Mumbai and Pune have reached out to us after they were forcefully asked to go offline by a small group of protesters. These protests continue to inconvenience riders and have impacted our ability to serve the city,” an Uber spokesman said.
An Ola spokesman said, “Whi-le we have a slight improvement in our services in Mumbai, however for the situation to improve significantly it is imperative that intimidation of driver partners and vandalism of their cars by vested interests be stopped. Companies like us are counting on Mumbai police for normalcy to return.”