Cab operators staged a protest in Guwahati on Monday

Guwahati: The All Assam Cab Operators’ Union (AACOU) staged a protest in Guwahati on Monday to assert their demands for fair benefit-sharing between the companies and cab operators.

The protest against the management of cab-sharing giants Ola and Uber, the union raised the concerns of drivers’ welfare and security. The protestors alleged that the cab giants failed to provide better income opportunity as was promised to them in the beginning.

The protestors demanded increase in incentives and bonuses, which have been slashed drastically, for their duties which go well beyond eight hours. Union president Ismail Ali said, “We do not get our dues. After the companies cut down the incentives, we are running into losses. So, we demand a consistent minimum wage of Rs 22,500 per month which may be rendered on a daily basis and thereby comply with international labour laws.”

According to the union members, there are around 15,000 people who are engaged in the cab services. Protesting drivers allege that they suffer undue pressure to manage their monthly expenses as their income has gone down. “The company offered us good pay initially, we left our low-paying jobs and took Uber as a career option. Now we stand stranded as we are unable to manage expenses,” said 25-year-old driver Rubul Ali.

Raising concern over their safety and security, Das further said, “I got a booking to Delhi from Guwahati which is 3,826 km-long-trip, but as I have contract to travel to three states, that too in the nearby areas, this kind of trip is ridiculous as it can be life threatening.”

Many low-income people across the country had invested in the cab business since it offered a descent earning. With high demand in cities, investment grew exponentially.

The union alleges that with raising oil prices and in absence of cheaper fuel fares have not changed, and as “customers also get ‘offers’, our share gets minimal while Uber’s share remain unaffected,” said Paban Das, another Uber driver.

The union also called the companies to resume or open the accounts of the drivers whose accounts were closed.

Earlier on May 9, the cab operators’ union submitted memorandums to the transport commissioner describing their grievances following a 72-hour-long strike in the state.

Uber and Ola cab operators across the country have been protesting against the giants demanding incentives and hike in wages.

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