Drivers working with cab aggregators, Ola and Uber are planning to go on strike from September 1, to protest for various demands such as fare hike, increase in commissions from cab aggregators and extension on moratorium for repayment of loans.
“Around 2 lakh drivers working with cab aggregators will take part in the strike if the government fails to solve our problems,” Kamaljeet Singh Gill, president of Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi told PTI.
“We will start our strike from Connaught Place if the government doesn’t listen to our demands,” said Kamaljeet Singh Gill, president of the Sarvodaya Drivers Association in a video message uploaded on Facebook on August 26, 2020.
In the video, Gill is seen holding a letter, stating the various demands of drivers from the government. He adds that the letter has been sent to the Prime Minister.
“Since March, we obeyed the lockdown restrictions and didn’t operate our cabs and taxis. However, the entire brunt is now being borne by us,” says Gill. “Banks are now upon us and have sent their goons to recover instalments. They could soon start seizing our vehicles. If the entire nation has borne the brunt of coronavirus, then banks should too.”
The demands of the drivers, listed in a pamphlet, include an extension of the government’s moratorium on EMI payments till December 31. The current moratorium for all term loans will lapse on August 31.
“We don’t have money to eat. We are reliant on relief centres for that. How can we pay the instalment then?”
The other demands include an increase in drivers’ commissions from cab aggregators, and sharing of taxes paid by drivers while travelling between Delhi and National Capital (Region) destinations like Noida, Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon.
The road tax payment relaxation should also be extended till December 31, Gill added.
In an earlier letter sent by the association to the Prime Minister dated June 19, 2020, a copy of which has been posted on its Facebook page, the association sought directions to cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber, to make relief payments to drivers who were out of work, with no customers during the country-wide lockdown which began on March 25, and is being lifted in phases since May 26. The association wrote in the letter that despite the government’s directives which mandated employers to pay full salaries to employees during the Covid-19-induced lockdown, cab drivers were out of money because there were no customers.
“Drivers are on the verge of committing suicide,” the letter read.