Telangana braces for October 19 bandh; cab drivers to join RTC strike

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on October 19, 2019 Published on October 18, 2019

About 50,000 Ola and Uber cab drivers will join the strike, which was started by the TSRTC on October 5

Ola, Uber drivers to join strike with their own set of demands

Telangana braces for a bandh on October 19 even as Employees’ associations, cab drivers, trade unions, mass organisations and Opposition parties announced their support for the bandh call given by the striking employees of the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) on October 19.

The Telangana High Court has asked the State government to resolve the issue. It felt that some of the demands made by the employees looked fair.

About 50,000 Ola and Uber cab drivers, too, are joining the strike with their own set of demands that include a better share in fares and establishment of a Cab Drivers' Welfare Board. Queries to Uber and Ola on the strike notice did not yield any answers.

Shaik Salauddin, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of the Telangana State Taxi and Cab Drivers' unions, told BusinessLine on Friday that they were going ahead with the indefinite strike plan as they had not received an invitation to talks from either the Transport Department or the cab aggregators.

Meanwhile, the IT industry is watching the situation closely, as a strike by cab drivers could severely impact the companies.

“We are watching the situation closely. Several mid-sized and large IT companies have hired third-party cab and bus vendors, who incidentally are not part of the strike. As of now, we see no impact of the strike on the IT industry,” a senior executive of Hyderabad Software Exporters Association (HYSEA), has said.

Though the city has about 1.20 lakh cabs, some of them are not part of any association. There are others who run small-time cab services. About 50,000 cab drivers, who are members of various associations that have formed a JAC to fight for their demands, have given a strike notice to the Government and to the aggregators.

“We are ready to hold talks with the Government and the managements of Uber, Ola and other aggregators,” Shaik Salauddin said.

Cab drivers’ demands

The list of demands includes better working conditions, a higher per kilometre payout at Rs 22 a km (as against Rs 12 now) and compulsory KYC (know your customer) registration of customers by aggregators to ensure the safety of drivers.

The strike by drivers could add to the woes of commuters in the twin cities, as the RTC strike has already crippled the public transport system. Though the RTC has roped in temporary drivers and conductors, a majority of the buses are still confined to the depots.

There is, however, confusion among some drivers in the Uber and Ola networks. “I have not received any information on the strike. I don't know why they have called for a strike. I don't know what the demands are,” Narasimha, a cab driver, says.

The saving grace for people in Hyderabad is the Metro service, which is operating additional services.



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Published on October 18, 2019
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