Services of the fleet taxi company, Meru Cabs, were affected on Friday as a Shiv Sena-led union of drivers working for the company called for an indefinite strike. Fourteen cases of fleet cabs being vandalised and drivers being assaulted were reported.
A spokesperson for Meru Cabs said that these incidents took place mostly in Thane, Vasai and Virar.
Not only were the cars damaged, but the drivers were also beaten up and forced to part with money, he added.
“The company is in the process of filing police complaints. We are still assessing the losses,” he said.
However, Meru Cabs Chalak Sena said none of these incidents was caused by members of its union.
The drivers’ union had called for strike after discussions with the management on January 22 and January 24 to address the drivers’ demands related to subscription charges and maintenance overheads that they have to pay the company.
“The management did not listen to us and maintained that the company was incurring losses. If they are incurring losses, why don’t they shut down?” said Sambaji Bhosale, general secretary of the Meru Cab Chalak Sena.
The union claims its drivers had been promised ownership of the vehicle after four years of service with the company. However, that has not happened but drivers are made to pay for the maintenance and repairs, it said.
The management of Meru Cabs called the union “illegal” and said a section of drivers was threatening the others.
“The drivers were unwilling to hear us. If such strikes and arm-twisting tactics by political parties continue, we will be forced to shut operations in Mumbai,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.