Bolt, Uber drivers go on strike over ‘low fares’, demand 200% hike

BOLT and Uber drivers, under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), have commenced a nationwide strike occasioned by welfare concerns following the hike in the cost of petrol.

The strike which commenced on Wednesday, June 7, was to protest against what they described as ‘low fare increase’ by the ride-hailing transport companies, Bolt, Uber and others.

In line with the strike, the drivers are to shut down service on all ride-hailing applications from Wednesday.

The development followed failure of ride-hailing companies to agree with the driver’s demand for a 200 per cent hike in fares and a 50 per cent reduction in commission, respectively, to level up with the recent hike in the petrol pump price.

Following the increase in the fuel pump price, The ICIR observed that Bolt and Uber drivers have been charging riders additional fees besides what was  displayed by the apps.

The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) hiked the fuel pump price after President Bola Tinubu declared in his inaugural address that fuel subsidy has been removed.

The development led to a sharp rise in the cost of transportation on different routes as commercial cab drivers transfer the additional cost of petrol on passengers.

Meanwhile, in the statement released to announce the commencement of the strike on Wednesday, the Bolt and Uber drivers union noted that the rate increase implemented by the app-based companies only represents 25 to 30 per cent. According to the statement, the increment was far less than the 200 per cent hike demanded by members, in addition to 50 per cent reduction in commission.



    The drivers said they can no longer tolerate any dictatorial acts by any company, noting that the union has tried its best to organise a round table meeting with the management of the ride-hailing companies but got no response.

    Parts of the statement read, “The union’s technical team is versed with the operation and technicality of ride-hailing companies and, on our calculations, any app company can break even charging below five per cent even though the union recommended a flat commission of 10 per cent or 50 per cent off their current commission during our last meeting, as we believe this will help us to cope with maintenance costs, spare parts and various overhead cost and the current fuel increase.

    “We can no longer tolerate any act of dictatorial practices by any app company because we are workers and as an organised union, we have written several letters to these companies for a round table discussion where we can look at various areas of concern and dialogue but they have remained adamant with a deliberate intention to avoid responsibility.

    “So, as a result of this insensitivity, the union is directing all its members across the nation to shut down their service on all ride-hailing applications from Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in protest against every dictatorial practice and lack of concern for welfare and security of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria.”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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