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Uber drivers in Kerala go offline against fee changes

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Kochi | Published: December 12, 2015 3:09:17 AM

Drivers under the All Kerala Online Taxi Drivers Union claimed that the strike called on Friday was a success with majority of the members opting to stay offline for the day.

Drivers of taxi aggregator Uber in Kerala went offline on Friday protesting against the frequent shifting of the incentive structure by the company. Drivers under the All Kerala Online Taxi Drivers Union claimed that the strike called on Friday was a success with majority of the members opting to stay offline for the day.

Union officials said that there are more than 3,000 drivers registered with the mobile app-based taxi service Uber in the state.

“The company has been frequently shifting the incentive structure to the disadvantage of the drivers. Frequent errors in the mobile-based service also lead to loss for the drivers. We have requested them to have a stable incentive structure and take the drivers into confidence before making changes,” TRS Kumar of the union told FE. The union has also requested for an agreement on incentives between the company and drivers.

Uber has recently changed the incentive for peak hours and added an extra clause of a minimum four trips, Kumar said. “The drivers get Rs 200 per hour as incentive. If the drivers are short of one trip from the minimum four, they don’t get the hourly incentive of Rs 200 per hour,” he added. “If a customer cancels a trip after he has booked it, the driver is fined for non-acceptance. This is unfair,” Kumar said.

Kerala has seen frequent clashes between drivers of app-based taxi services and the traditional taxi drivers who are organised under political parties. The state unit of CPI (M) is planning to take on taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola by arming the taxi and auto unions with software and technical support.

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