Bolt, Uber drivers strike over low prices

Bolt and Uber drivers demand 200 % increase in cab fare.

The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), representing e-hailing drivers, has announced the suspension of its operations due to dissatisfaction with low prices offered by app-based companies.

The union demanded a significant increase in prices of 200 percent, along with a 50 percent reduction in commission fees.

In a statement released by the union, it was revealed that the app-based companies had only raised prices by 25 to 30 percent, which fell far short of the union’s demands. The strike, which began on Wednesday, June 07, 2023, also serves as a response to the substantial commission fees imposed by Uber and Bolt, two of Nigeria’s largest ride-hailing companies.

Drivers expressed their concerns over the high commission rates, arguing that they did not align with industry benchmark rates and made it challenging for them to sustain their livelihoods. They had previously requested the companies to lower their commission fees to more reasonable levels.

The recent change in the industry coincides with the government’s decision to discontinue subsidies on petrol, leading to higher fuel prices in Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa. This further added to the financial strain faced by app-based drivers.

The union has urged all app-based workers across the country to stand united in their fight until their demands are met. In a statement, the union emphasised their expertise in the operation and technical aspects of ride-hailing companies.

They highlighted that app companies could break even with commission fees below five percent, despite the union’s recommendation of a flat commission of 10 percent or a 50 percent reduction from the current rates. The union believes that such adjustments are necessary to cover maintenance costs, spare parts, overhead expenses, and the recent fuel price increase.

Expressing frustration with the app companies’ lack of responsiveness, the union declared the shutdown of all services on ride-hailing applications, effective from Wednesday. They cited dictatorial practices, disregard for workers’ welfare and security, and an unwillingness to engage in constructive dialogue as reasons for their collective action.

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