Just two months after Uber and Ola drivers went off the road, protesting scaled back incentives and long working hours, drivers from the two cab aggregators are planning to strike again in NCR on Tuesday.
Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, which is leading the strike, says their demands have not been met and plan to march in protest outside the residence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Keriwal on Tuesday. Over 1.5 lakhs cabs are reportedly part of the strike.
"Nothing has changed since our February protest. Drivers continue to slog for 16-18 hours daily and still are barely earning enough to eat and pay the car EMIs. Fares of registered city taxis can only be fixed by the government, whereas, Ola-Uber still continue to levy their own rates," Kamaljeet Gill, president SDAD, told Hindustan Times.
What are their demands?
As with the February strike, the latest strike is asking for the government to regulate cab fares, reasonable working hours, as well as the reintroduction of previous monetary incentives, which attracted many to invest in cars to put on the ride sharing platforms. Many cab owners and drivers claim that low fares are hurting them.
"These companies lured us by promising ₹1.2 lakh earning per month. So many of us bought cars on EMIs by selling our lands and our wives' jewellery but once they captured the market, these companies rolled back all incentives and brought down the fares to ₹6/km," Sarvodaya Driver Association chairman SP Soni told ET. "We cannot even meet the expenses for the maintenance of the cars and EMIs with these earnings. To make matters worse, these companies have now rolled out their own cars and the preference is given to these cars. We are hardly making enough to survive."
The February strike reportedly fizzled out after a couple of weeks when the Delhi High Court instructed the police to protect drivers who didn't wish to participate in the strike.
The association has also warned there could be similar strikes coming to other cities including Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Mumbai.
If strikes continue to disrupt the availability of cabs, it could put a dent on Uber and Ola aggressive growth plans in India. The two companies have been in fierce competition in India and have largely funded their growth relying on investor money.