After weeks of seeking support from app based operators by their drivers, cab companies have finally shown interest in getting drivers vaccinated. Uber, for instance, will pay Rs 400 per driver, who receives the jab.
The unions have been claiming that the company states drivers as their partners but hasn't done much for them. This comes at a time when vaccines are not available in government hospitals till May 1 and lockdown continues till May 15.
On April 30, Uber unveiled Rs 18.5 crore worth of initiative to get 1.50 lakh drivers on its platform to be vaccinated over the next six months. The company will compensate car, auto and moto drivers on its platform for time spent on getting their vaccine shots. The drivers showing valid digital vaccination certificates will be eligible for Rs 400 for each of their two shots. All drivers able to show that they have been vaccinated before April 30 will also be able to claim the funds.
Pavan Vaish, Head of Supply and Driver Operations, Uber India South Asia, said, “Mass vaccination is key to tackling India’s Covid crisis and this is the best way to ensure that drivers, riders and the broader community can get protected as soon as possible. We will soon begin communicating this initiative to drivers across all our product lines, and encourage them to take up the offer”.
Earlier this March, Uber pledged Rs 10 crore worth of free rides to help people get to and from the nearest vaccine center. This year alone, Uber has facilitated 9000 free online medical consultations for drivers and their families through DocsApp. From April to June 2020, the Uber Care Driver Fund disbursed grants to approximately 1 lakh drivers.
On April 7, The Free Press Journal had reported ‘No one to monitor if auto and taxi drivers are carrying Covid-ve report’. The situation in Mumbai and Maharashtra has been critical in this second wave of Covid-19 and availability of vaccines is a big issue. The government was forced to extend the dates for providing vaccines to the 18-44 age bracket for this month end due to cut-to-cut availability of vaccines.
The unions of these drivers on their platform had demanded that vaccines be provided to drivers as the government had made RT-PCR negative reports to be carried by these drivers.
“We met these aggregator companies where we had demanded few points including providing vaccinations to drivers or compensation for the same,” said a union leader of Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh. The aggregator cabbies had removed these sheets from a majority of their vehicles which is again making a comeback.