App-based cab drivers seek ‘economic, social support’

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on July 01, 2021

Gig workers say their problems are akin to that of migrant workers

Gig workers and drivers working for app-based cab-hailing firms have sought to implead themselves in the petition filed last year in the Supreme Court in connection with the problems of migrant workers.

It also wants the apex court to direct e-commerce and app-based food delivery and cab services apps to offer “economic and social support packages” and ensure that drivers’ income is enhanced.

Citing the ruling by Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Mukesh Kumar Rasikbhai Shah, in response to the problems and miseries of migrant workers, gig workers said their problems are akin to that of migrant workers. In a letter to the Bench comprising the two Judges, the Telangana Gig And Platform Workers Union has asked the court to instruct the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment to create a national database for ‘gig and platform workers’.

Shaik Salauddin, Founder and State President of the union, said that the members of the union, representing a number of app-based food, e-commerce and cab services companies, come under the definition of the Social Security Code of 2020.

“The app-based transport and delivery workers have been overwhelmed by the pandemic, and the second wave of Covid-19 has made matters worse for them,” he said.

“The loss of business due to lockdowns and continuous harassment by recovery and loan agents for EMI payments have led to quite a few suicides in the driver and delivery workers’ community,” he said.

Relief measures

Stating that cab drivers are in the high-risk category, he appealed to the court to take cognizance of their issues and instruct the Solicitor General and relevant ministries to provide relief measures.

The union also wants the government to extend the social security schemes such as PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana.

It made an appeal to the court to ask the government to take a decision on waiving off the loans or extension of moratorium of loans till September.

Besides asking banks not to harass drivers by employing recovery agents, the government should waive off various taxes and fees such as road taxes and licence renewal fee.

Citing the Motor Vehicles Guidelines issued by the government in November 2020, the union wanted the government to direct app-based transport companies to ensure that at least 80 per cent of the fare remains with the drivers. “Not more than 20 per cent of the fare is kept by the companies, excluding taxes collected from the customers,” said the union.

Other demands

The other demands included a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh, a term insurance cover of ₹10 lakh and a compensation of ₹15 lakh for drivers who died of Covid-19.

Published on July 01, 2021

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