Ola, Uber drivers likely to call off strike today as firms assure ‘revised’ per km fares

Ola, Uber drivers likely to call off strike today as firms assure 'revised' per km fares
Ola and Uber have agreed to a per km fare of Rs 12 for hatchbacks, Rs 15 for sedans and Rs 19 for SUVs, a union leader said (Picture Courtesy: Subhash Mhatre)

Ola and Uber drivers in Mumbai, who had gone on an indefinite strike since October 22, are likely to call off the strike on Tuesday evening after the cab aggregator firms agreed to most of their demands, including higher payouts.

The strike was called by Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh, a union of app-based cab aggregator drivers, to protest against the low earnings.

The decision to withdraw the strike comes in the backdrop of a meeting between Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh members, Ola & Uber representatives and police officers on Monday.

Following the meeting, Sangh secretary Sunil Borkar said the firms have agreed to 80 percent of demands, including an increase in the per kilometer fare.

The association will visit the state transport department today to discuss the implementation of hiked rates. The strike is expected to be called off officially after a nod from the Maharashtra state transport commissioner.

Meanwhile, both Ola and Uber have sent letters to the union, assuring that they will look into the driver’s grievances and address the declining earnings.

In the letter, Ola said that its drivers will earn Rs 10-12 per km for AC hatchbacks, Rs 12-15 per km for AC Sedans, and Rs 17-19 per km for AC SUVs. Uber, on the other hand, said its drivers were earning at similar levels and will continue to do so.

“Our demand for subsequent fare per km of Rs 12, Rs 15 and Rs 19 has been accepted by the companies,” said Union leader Prashant Sarvedekar.

The drivers had earlier alleged that they were earning less than half that amount, and almost 80 percent lower than what they were earning back in 2016.

The ride-hailing apps have also assured that they will relook at cases of blacklisted drivers, accommodate for fuel price hikes and create slab pricing for rides of over 200 km.

Mumbai alone has close to 50,000 Ola and Uber cabs, a majority of which were off the roads since last week. Apart from inconveniencing regular commuters, the protests by drivers also led to traffic chaos in Andheri yesterday.

Several instances of violence have also been reported during the protest, which prompted the Bombay High Court to intervene and direct law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of drivers.

“Uber acknowledges the ongoing strike in Mumbai has caused significant hardship to its riders and also to its driver partners, most of whom want to drive, but have been intimidated from doing so,” an Uber spokesperson said in a statement earlier.

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