Drivers of cab aggregators Uber and Ola have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from the midnight of March 18th. The strike is expected to be observed in key cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune among other cities. "Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 5-7 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," Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena, who is organising the strike told a leading news agency.
Naik further alleged that these taxi-hailing companies are giving first priority to company-owned cars rather than driver-owned vehicles, causing a slump in their business. While taxi-hailing companies offered loan-guarantee letters to drivers through the Mudra scheme and that too without any verification, they are defaulting on repayment now as their costs are not covered, as claimed by Naik. In Mumbai alone, there are over 45,000 cabs on these aggregators but due to the slump in business, there has been a fall of 20 percent in the number of cabs running on these platforms in the city.
"They have invested Rs 5-7 lakh and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month. But drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies," Sanjay Naik continued saying. Now, the Mumbai Police have stepped in too. Notices of section 149 of CrPC have been issued to Sanjay Naik, president, Arif Shaikh and Nitin Nandgaokar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena as preventive action. If they violate any orders, they are liable to be prosecuted," said Pandit Thorat, senior inspector of the Andheri police station. Several media reports quoted Naik as saying that if any Ola or Uber driver is found violating the strike, “we will request him with folded hands... If he does not listen, we will handle it MNS-style."
Stay tuned for any updates on this.