• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

Partial compliance marks Bolt, Uber drivers’ strike action

Moove moves to subsidise fuel costs for drivers

Many Uber and Bolt drivers have defied the union’s announcement to embark on a nationwide strike.

The Amalgamated Union Of App-Based Transport Workers Of Nigeria (AUATWON), which represents e-hailing drivers suspended operations due to low prices. However, BusinessDay has observed that not every driver is complying with the action.

According to a statement released by the union on Wednesday, the upward review of fares between 25 to 30 percent implemented by Bolt and Uber were less than the union’s demands of a 200 percent increase and 50 percent reduction in commission.

The strike was also a response to the high commission fees established by Uber and Bolt which have established a huge presence in Nigeria.

“The union’s technical team is versed with the operation and technicality of ride-hailing companies and on our calculations, any app company can break even charging below five per cent even though the union recommended a flat commission of 10 per cent or 50 percent off their current commission during our last meeting, as we believe this will help us to cope with maintenance costs, spare parts and various overhead cost and the current fuel increase.

“We can no longer tolerate any act of dictatorial practices by any app company because we are workers and as an organised union, we have written several letters to these companies for a round table discussion where we can look at various areas of concern and dialogue but they have remained adamant with a deliberate intention to avoid responsibility.

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“So, as a result of this insensitivity, the union is directing all its members across the nation to shut down their service on all ride-hailing applications from Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in protest against every dictatorial practice and lack of concern for welfare and security of App-Based Transport workers of Nigeria,” the Union’s statement noted.

However, a search for riders on Wednesday and Thursday still showed some drivers are not fully complying with the directive.

“Some drivers have started observing the suspension, but others are not doing it,” said a Bolt driver who was on his way to carry a rider.

A bolt rider who pleaded to remain anonymous told businessDay correspondent that many drivers will not join the strike as the implementation will not be the solution to the ongoing problem.

” Why are we going on strike and what will be the effect. At the end of the day, we will end up losing money that we are struggling to get. Even the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) couldn’t go on strike and these are people in a better position to solve the problem. So some drivers will go but many will not,” he said

Meanwhile, the change is in response to the increase in petrol prices in Nigeria following the announcement of the subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu.

While both Uber and Bolt are yet to issue an official statement on the issue, Bolt has taken to their official Twitter handle to address rising complaints from passengers and drivers.

“The challenging macroeconomic conditions directly affect the cost of living for both drivers and passengers. We understand that the rising fuel prices impose additional financial pressure on drivers who rely on the Bolt app for their income.

“After listening to our drivers, we recently announced fare adjustments across all the cities where we operate. We empathise with the drivers and passengers on the economic hardships currently being faced and we will continue to consider the well-being of both parties.

“The welfare of drivers is at the forefront of Bolt’s decision. We adjusted the fares taking into account the issue of demand and supply. Excessively high prices will discourage passengers from ordering rides, thus negatively impacting drivers’ earnings.

“Therefore, our revised fares aim to strike a balance between better compensation for drivers and manageable prices for passengers. Bolt is committed to analysing and conducting extensive reviews to ensure that we continue to provide the best earnings for drivers,” Bolt tweeted.