Ola drivers end strike, Uber drivers to continue protest
After three days of interrupted services, Mumbaikars will be able to heave a sigh of relief from Thursday as drivers associated with cab-aggregator Ola have called off the strike even as those affiliated with Uber are expected to be off roads tomorrow.
Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena, the transport wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), had called an indefinite strike from Monday on the grounds that several drivers were not being able to cover costs due to falling business.
The union called off their strike for Ola drivers on Wednesday after meeting senior officials from the company.
MNS transport wing president Sanjay Naik said that a meeting with a senior Ola representative from Delhi was held in suburban Andheri today after which the decision to end the strike was taken.
While the specific details about the discussion are not known, MNS reportedly demanded that the Ola agreement and sticker for cabs plying in the state should also be in Marathi.
Although Ola did not release an official release confirming its stand, Union leaders said that Ola officials present for discussion have agreed to their demands.
Naik added that a meeting with Uber officials was due tomorrow, post which a call on ending their strike will be taken.
The union had earlier alleged that drivers are unable to cover their costs due to falling revenues and that Ola/Uber give preference to company-owned cabs over driver-owned taxis.
“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 drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies,” Naik had told PTI earlier.
Of the 45,000 such cabs in Mumbai, nearly 20 percent have stopped plying due to a slump in business. Further, the MNS leader claimed that more than 90 percent of all remaining cabs had participated in the strike and stayed off roads.
The strike caused major inconvenience to commuters over the last three days as many had to opt for alternate means of travel due to higher wait times and exorbitant surge pricing.
To ensure law and order in the city, police had issued notices of section 149 of CrPC to MNS leaders Sanjay Naik, Arif Shaikh, and Nitin Nandgaokar as preventive action. The notices, however, did little to deter the leaders.
Nandgaokar, for one, was even caught on tape breaking the windshield of a private cab that was plying during the strike to dissuade others from following suit.
Overall, police have reportedly arrested at least 15 people since the start of this week for damaging private cars.