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Uber, Bolt Drivers Issue Seven-Day Strike Ultimatum, Demand Better Pay

A peace meeting between e-hailing companies and their drivers operating on various app-based platforms concluded without reaching an agreement on Friday, according to The PUNCH. It was reported that both parties remained uncompromising during the negotiations.

The meeting was organized in response to a nationwide strike declared by the drivers, who staged protests at the headquarters of the ride-hailing companies. They were protesting against what they perceived as an unacceptable price adjustment given the significant rise in petrol prices.

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Jossy Olawale, the Chairman of the union’s Media and Publicity Committee, disclosed to The PUNCH that while some e-hailing firms had made concessions to accommodate the current operating conditions, the proposed terms were still inadequate. He further stated that the union had temporarily called off the industrial action but would initiate a complete and indefinite strike in seven days if the conditions presented on Friday were not met.

“We do not have any resolution with them. They said they would increase the price (fare). The people that met with them in Lagos said they increased the price by N7, and when you look at N7 it’s just about 0.7 per cent increase or thereabouts.

“Before the increase in fuel price, it was N102 per kilometre, but since we started our strike, they upped it to N140, which is about 40 per cent increase. We are actually asking for a 200 per cent increase, which is about N300 per kilometre. We want to use that as a negotiation strategy because we know they won’t do up to that. If they are able to do 100 per cent increase, it’s fine, but they only did 40 per cent.

“We also requested for a 50 per cent reduction of their 25 per cent commission. They didn’t even say anything about it. Though they said they would open the door of negotiation. Lastly, they still left the base fare at N800. We are asking that the base fare should be N2000 flat. The commission should be cut by half from 25 per cent to 12.5 per cent.”

Furthermore, President Damola Adeniran emphasized that the union remains unwavering in its stance on the demands put forth to the cab-hailing companies. According to him, anything less than those terms would fail to guarantee the drivers’ profitability.

He said, “ We maintain our stand of N2000 base fare, 200 per cent increase in the price per kilometre and a 50 per cent reduction in commission. We also want collective bargaining and at the same time profiling of riders. We want them to reopen the accounts of drivers who have been blocked unjustifiably, without fair hearing.”

In an interview with The PUNCH, Tope Akinwumi, the Country Manager for Uber in Nigeria, stated that the company had introduced two fare price adjustments in response to the recent surge in gasoline prices.

e said, “Drivers are at the heart of everything we do and we continue to work on initiatives and engage with drivers to help make Uber the app of choice for drivers while maintaining an affordable service for riders.

“Following an in-depth review of the current fuel subsidy removal, Uber updated fares on the 3rd and 9th June on the app to reflect existing economic conditions. We believe these changes have helped better support drivers in increasing their earning opportunities. Furthermore, we lowered the service fee in February 2022 from 25 per cent to 20 per cent to help enable better earning opportunities for drivers.

When approached for a statement, a high-ranking representative from Bolt declined to comment, citing a lack of authority to address the issue.