Mumbai: Lakhs of Mumbai commuters were severely hit as more than 80,000 drivers of aggregator cabs like Ola and Uber went on strike here on Monday, an official said.
“The strike has been launched from midnight in support of various demands of the drivers who are being meted out injustice by the companies. If the government fails to intervene, they shall go on an indefinite strike,” Sanjay Naik, President of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena (MNVS), told IANS. The MNVS is affiliated to Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
He added that several thousands of drivers of Ola and Uber had also joined the protest in Aurangabad, Nashik, Pune and other cities in Maharashtra as part of an all-India agitation.
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, spokespersons for both the companies declined to comment on the strike.
The worst-hit were people proceeding to airport or railway stations to catch flights or long-distance trains, besides local commuters rushing for business meetings. Naik claimed that both Ola and Uber had promised big returns of more than Rs 1.25 lakh per month to the cab drivers who invested beteen Rs 5 and 7 lakhs.
“Now the situation is that many drivers earn barely half the promised amount which is not even sufficient to cover their costs. The drivers are practically on the verge of starvation owing to the mismanagement by the two companies,” Naik said.
Moreover, the companies give preference to their own vehicles rather than the driver-owned vehicles, which has led to a steep decline in the latter’s business.
Owing to these, Naik said there has been drop of more than 20 percent in Mumbai alone of the cabs running on this platform, hitting both the drivers and the commuters. The MNVS has appealed to the Mumbai commuters to make alternative arrangements and “support the fight for justice” by the Ola and Uber drivers.
The Mumbai Taximen’s Union has supported the strike. Its General Secretary A.L. Quadros demanded that the Regional Transport Authority take strict action against Ola and Uber for violating permit conditions and eating into the business of autorickshaws and taxis.