Striking drivers of the e-hailing taxi services Uber and Taxify have threatened to remain on strike until their demands are met. However, they did not proceed to Taxify’s offices in Bryanston after handing over a memorandum of demands to Uber management in Krammerville near Sandton.
They have given Uber until Thursday to respond to their demands. They want the 25 percent commission received by the company to be immediately reduced to 15 percent.
They are also demanding better rates in light of fuel hikes and that the two companies stop training more drivers and putting more cars on the road, saying they are even struggling to make a profit because the market is too congested.
Non-striking Uber and Taxify drivers were pulled over and forced to join the protest by their striking colleagues at various locations such as OR Tambo and Lanseria airports, as well at a number of Gautrain stations.
The situation was no different at Zoo Lake where hundreds of drivers gathered on Tuesday morning before making their way to Uber’s offices in Krammaville near Sandton. However, they were made to wait for about three hours, with management unwilling to engage them.
“Uber is a very arrogant organisation. Uber was forced by the SAPS to send management to come receive the memorandum. They were highly unwilling; they come out to receive it under duress. They call us partners but they’re so afraid to engage with their so-called partners. So it goes to show that there’s not partnership here, it’s just on-going exploitation. And they feel no need to justify their actions to us,” says Spokesperson for the drivers Vhatuka Mbelengwa.
When Uber Representative Deon du Toit eventually came out to meet them, he had very little to say. “I accept this on behalf of Uber, it will reach Uber management within minutes of me receiving it. I’m going to sign this with your representatives. And we’re ready to do this.”
The drivers were not pleased, as they called on Uber to immediately shut down the online taxi app. Mbelengwa says they expect feedback from Uber by Thursday. “We have given them a maximum of 48 hours to respond to us, failure to do so, we will reconvene here. Failure to do so, we’re going to be offline; we’re going to continue to mobilise drivers. And engage with drivers in different areas who may not be aware of what’s happening; make them aware so we can correctly encourage them to stay offline.”
The march was also supposed to proceed to Taxify’s offices in Bryantson. “We sent out a team to the Taxify offices and there was absolutely nobody there. They had completely absconded. They had abdicated responsibility of engaging with us. So we saw it fit not to proceed forth to Taxify. We’ll re-strategize, and at a date sooner rather than later, we’ll go to Taxify,” says Mbelengwa.
However, Taxify’s country Manager Gareth Taylor says they have been engaging with drivers and are already addressing some of their concerns. “At Taxify we take a 15 percent commission. Drivers on Taxify earn typically 13 to 20-percent more than drivers on other e-hailing platforms. We increased the fares couple of weeks back in response to the petrol price being increased. With regards to safety, we’ve introduced the Lamola integration that has increased our partnership in the relationship that we have with the police and we’re in a better position to collaborate with the police on when and where things are happening. Coming out in the coming weeks will also be armed response.” Click below for more on the story: