Kerala’s All Kerala Online Taxi Drivers’ Union will hold a strike today protesting against Uber because it offer a limited number of rides to its drivers, reports Times of India. The report added the union as saying that each vehicle should get at least 20 trip requests as opposed to the 10, 15 and 20 trips on which the company makes offers on. The union demanded a minimum wage for drivers who were working continuously for 12 hours. It cited the increasing number of cars on Uber as a reason for reduced number of trips. We’ve written to Uber and will update this if we hear from the company.
Note that according to another Times of India report from earlier this month, the union was formed last month to take a stand against traditional taxi and autorickshaw drivers from whom they faced harassment. This is incorrect since the union had previously held a strike against incentive structures of online cab aggregators according to this Mint report from December last year. The TOI report stated that drivers in the union would be mainly from Ola and Uber.
This isn’t the first time that a union has been formed by taxi drivers, but what’s particularly interesting is that this union is specifically only for drivers who work with online taxi aggregators. Online taxi drivers also haven’t had it easy considering the backlash they face from traditional taxi operators and auto drivers who have at times resorted to violence to make a point. We imagine other such taxi unions might also spring up across India. However, it is important to note that even without a union, drivers of online cab aggregators have sometimes resorted to violence as well while protesting incentive cuts.
Kerala local taxi app
Earlier this year, Kerala’s local taxi operator body Ernakulam Car Drivers Welfare Society had launched a Kerala Taxi app (website) to let users book taxis online. The pilot project had 100 drivers and planned to add all the 3,000 taxi drivers in the Ernakulam district to the taxi booking app.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai, taxi and autorickshaw unions have threatened to go on a strike again from 10th of November if online cab aggregators are not regulated in the state of Maharashtra. This strike is a follow up of the the one in June, when the Jai Bhagwan union had protested in Mumbai, asking for action to be taken against cab aggregators for their lower price points. The strike was called off after the union expressed its concerns to Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and postponed to the 1st of September due to intervention from the state transport minister Diwakar Raote, but did not take place at that point.