Autorickshaw drivers announced an indefinite state-wide strike from 9th July onwards if their demands aren’t met by the government of Maharashtra.
Their major demand is that cab services such as Ola and Uber be banned in Maharashtra.
2 Lakh autorickshaw drivers from Mumbai have also joined the protest.
On Sunday, Auto Rickshaw drivers announced an indefinite state-wide strike from 9th July onwards if their demands aren’t met by the government of Maharashtra. Their major demand is that cab services such as Ola and Uber be banned in Maharashtra.
Various autorickshaw unions across the state have joined hands to put forward this demand. This matter was discussed during a meeting held in Mumbai, wherein 2 Lakh autorickshaw drivers from Mumbai also joined the protest.
Sharad Rao, the leader of Mumbai Automen’s union threatened that 10 lakh autorickshaw drivers across the city, including the 2 lakh in Mumbai itself will be going on an indefinite strike if their demands aren’t fulfilled. The union is planning on handing over their list of demands to the Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Diwakar Raote who is the transport minister in the state. They are planning on waiting until the 30th of June to see if their demands are met.
As Mumbai is one of the biggest markets for Ola and Uber, if the government meets the autorickshaw drivers’ demands, it will result in huge losses for them. However, autorickshaws are a daily means of travel for millions of people in the state and this strike will severely cripple the daily lives of the common people
Apart from this, the drivers have also demanded that there be a hike in the autorickshaw fares. The auto fares haven’t been revised in the past 3 years. The auto rickshaw union demanded that the fare be hiked to ₹22/km from the current rate of ₹18/km. The representatives of the union said that the revenue generated by the hiked fares will be utilized in setting up a special fund that will provide benefits like Pension, Gratuity, medical assistance and Provident funds to the drivers in the state.
The union also said that the government isn’t working towards the development of autorickshaw drivers’ welfare. The committee also recommended that flying squads for the prevention of illegal traffic be set up by the government and a reduction in the insurance prices be implemented.
This isn’t the first time that autorickshaw drivers have protested against the operations of Ola and Uber. In 2016, Delhi Prakash Taxi Union and Delhi autorickshaw Sangh had both gone an indefinite strike against cab companies operating in Delhi. autorickshaw drivers had protested that their livelihood was getting hurt due to Ola-Uber’s operations that run without a taxi license.
Also, in 2015, 12k taxi drivers and 18k auto drivers from the Swabhiman Union had declared a day-long strike against the ride-hailing giants. Kaali Pilli taxis which are based in Mumbai had protested against the same in the same year as well.
Uber had also filled a $1.9 Million (₹12.43 Cr) lawsuit against the drivers association and taxi drivers for harming the reputation of the company and the livelihood of its drivers in Mumbai.
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