Members of the All Guwahati Cab Owners and Drivers Association who run the cabs under Uber and Ola banners are demanding proper incentives and now they have begun a three-day strike from today. The cab and drivers association claim that they are not receiving incentives according to the agreement they have signed with the cab aggregators, according to The Telegraph.
The cab drivers claim that their business is suffering as new drivers are joining both the platforms on a daily basis. The cab drivers say that their margins are getting affected. The association wants both Ola and Uber to stop enrolling new drivers at the earliest.
Ismail Ali, the President of the association told The Telegraph that, ”The company assured us an income of Rs 75,000 per month, but now we earn between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per month. The EMI for my vehicle is Rs 13,500 and the there are other overhead expenses. If Ola and Uber do not respond to our demands then we will go on an indefinite strike”.
To this an Uber spokesperson said, “Incentives have gone down in line with company strategy. Earnings have gone up in line with company strategy so as to reduce the dependence on incentives. Our objective is to improve organic earnings over time so as to ensure that, that becomes the mainstay of what a driver takes home.” He added, “Because Uber is a two-sided market, we need to balance the needs of riders and drivers. Uber rolls outs incentives and promotions to introduce the service in new cities. Without doing this, it’s hard to ensure drivers are compensated for their time when few riders are aware of the service.”
The cab drivers claim that they also face problems due to bad connectivity in the city. Ali said that because of the poor connectivity sometimes they are unable to get the location of the customer. Ali added, ”If a customer’s mobile phone is switched off then we want Rs 50 as compensation”.
The Uber spokesperson said, “With sustained high demand from both riders and drivers in Guwahati we can shift from startup mode to a more sustainable business model and begin reducing higher levels of incentives, and invest more in drivers and our products for the long term.”
The drivers also complained that their status gets downgraded if they do not drive for a few days. The downgrade translates to less earnings per ride, as per The Telegraph.
On complaints about the company being unresponsive to driver issues, Uber said, “We are always listening. All driver partners are open to sharing their concerns and problems through not just one but various channels. They can walk in at the GL, call at the call centre and raise in-app tickets.”
The association has also demanded that the rating system be withdrawn. The cab drivers say that many customers do not know about the rating service and give the driver a poor rating despite getting a good service from the cab driver.
Meanwhile, District Court, Kamrup, Guwahati issued an injunction today, restraining unions, leaders, members and followers from preventing Uber driver partners from going about their business. As a response, the Uber spokesperson said, “We welcome the court’s order and hope that it will enable drivers to stay behind the wheel, without fear or harassment henceforth. We are confident that the order will be effectively enforced and that action is taken against any person who attempts to block cars, confiscate devices or harass riders and drivers and that the safety of everyone using the Uber App in Guwahati is ensured.”