The Delhi High Court today asked the drivers of app-based cab firms Ola and Uber and their unions, who are on strike in Delhi-NCR to protest against “low fares” and “lack” of basic amenities from the companies, to end their agitation. “You cannot go on fighting, as you do with the government. You will have to resolve and end this agitation as it will not get you anything,” Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.
The court said that the cab drivers and their unions have a purely contractual relationship with the companies and if they do not desire to continue, they can always choose the more lucrative option, but cannot demand anything from the firms except by peaceful commercial negotiation.
It said the drivers should create an atmosphere for a peaceful commercial dialogue with app-based cab aggregators.
The court’s observations came after the counsel for the two unions — Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi (SDAD) and Rajdhani Tourist Drivers’ Union, submitted that they have met the representatives of the two companies, but could not reach at any settlement.
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“We are ready to settle the issue, but they are not,” the counsel said, adding that “we only get around Rs 60 per day from our cab firms so the rate per km should be increased”.
The unions’ contention was opposed by the counsel for Uber, who said, “We are not forcing them to ply taxi for us”.
The court, however, said that the parties should resolve the issue through talks. It appointed a mediator to help resolve the issue amicably.
The court has now fixed the matter for hearing on March 22.
It, meanwhile, also extended its interim order asking Delhi Police to ensure safety of the drivers having contract with the companies and wanting to ply.
It had also said that their vehicles should not be stopped or blocked from plying and these should not be damaged.
The directions for ensuring security were passed after Ola and Uber had informed the court that despite orders restraining the drivers’ unions from blocking or interfering with their services, there have been incidents of violence, including burning of a cab.
The two unions denied responsibility for such incidents of violence.
The court was hearing the pleas of Uber and Ola seeking to restrain SDAD and Rajdhani and anyone working on their behalf from disrupting their services.
The pleas were moved after hundreds of drivers of Uber and Ola went on an indefinite strike from February 10 in Delhi-NCR to protest against the “low fares” and “lack” of basic amenities.
On plea by Ola and Uber, the court had issued directions restraining anyone, including the two unions and their members, from blocking vehicles or removing or confiscating the mobile devices installed in the cabs.
It had also restrained the two unions, their office- bearers or anyone acting on their behalf, from staging a dharna within 500 metres of the offices here of Ola and Uber.
Uber, in a statement issued after the hearing, said that the demands raised by the union members are based on several incorrect assumptions.
“We have always been open to engaging with driver-partners and will continue to address concerns, if any, on a one-to-one basis,” a company spokesperson said.