E-hailing taxi drivers strike on hold

Uber introduces rider call back line for added safety

Uber introduces rider call back line for added safety

Published Apr 3, 2023


Johannesburg - The planned strike by e-hailing drivers has been put on hold.

Last week, The Star reported that drivers of the two biggest e-hailing providers, Bolt and Uber, were planning a strike to demand a better working environment from the app owners.

For their demands, drivers want app owners to decrease the commission by less than 15%, app owners to put 360-degree cameras into their cars for safety and clients to be verified. They also want the app owners to “stop commanding them” and instead communicate with them about new rules or anything they are implementing.

"I can confirm that after receiving a statement from a group of drivers’ representatives, the strike has been put on hold. We will communicate if there are further developments," said E-hailing Partners Council spokesperson Kgomotso Senokoane.

He said on March 28, the council had a consultative meeting with organisers of the national shutdown.

"The meeting was fruitful because important updates and information were shared accordingly. Most organisers understood the inputs from the council and the strategy to turn around the status quo, which was a transformation initiative."

"The council heard and resonated with the suffering of drivers and owners in the e-hailing sector. Three major challenges that affect the industry immensely are security and safety, unreasonably low prices, and unregulated apps. In view of the above transformation agenda, it was adopted and is being rolled out swiftly."

"It is the council's position that the sector ought to have a shared understanding on issues that affect them. The council leaves no soldier behind on the transformation journey," he said.

The council encouraged the organisers to make an informed decision following the meeting, and they will announce the way forward accordingly.

"We hope that the organisers will issue the relevant statement in the best interest of the industry and transformation agenda soonest. We shall revolt to bring about transformation as a collective at the right time, inclusive of everyone in the sector. Our strength and success are in our unity and as a collective," he said.

Mpho Mutuwa, head of communications for Uber South Africa, said they were open to engaging with the representatives of earners who planned to protest to understand their complaints and attempt to find a workable solution for the benefit of the inclusive ridesharing and e-commerce industries.

"Our continuous engagements with drivers and delivery people through surveys and face-to-face round tables have helped us understand the issues that earners face while operating their businesses on our platform. Over the past six months, we have reached thousands of earners through our surveys and hundreds through our round tables across our Uber and Uber Eats businesses. Through these engagements, we have, over time, implemented various measures and solutions to help improve their experience on the Uber App," said Mutuwa.

When it comes to safety, Mutuwa conceded that drivers faced unique challenges on the road.

"We stand for safety, hence we continue to invest heavily in technology. Over the years, we have launched several industry-leading safety features dedicated to the South African market. We also have a dedicated Law Enforcement Relations Team (LERT), which in some instances includes former law enforcement professionals who are on call to work with police 24/7 to assist in an investigation," said Mutuwa.

Takura Malaba, Bolt's regional manager for East and Southern Africa, said crimes against drivers continued to be a national issue of great concern, and the safety of riders and drivers using the Bolt platform was of the utmost importance to them.

"Bolt is co-operating with the police to provide all the relevant information required to assist in every case, as well as provide the impacted driver with all the information needed for trauma counselling with our provider," said Malaba.

The Star

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