Johannesburg - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has lambasted e-hailing companies for abusing their drivers.
A few days ago, e-hailing drivers protested in regions over complaints about commission structure, crime and other labour-related issues.
The drivers held a media briefing yesterday with the leadership of Saftu, where their issues were ventilated.
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said working conditions for e-hailing drivers were so bad that they did not have proper channels where they could relay their complaints. He said it was important for the e-hailing drivers to be organised into unions.
“The e-hailing drivers must organise under a trade union to fight for their rights and advance their economic interests. We acknowledge platforms like the e-hailing Partners Council (EPCO), but this platform remains and acts as a platform to hear the grievances of workers. It can never displace or replace the need for a trade union,” he said.
Vavi criticised e-hailing companies for refusing to recognise drivers as their employees. He said globally, there was a trend to form legislation that recognises the e-hailing companies as the employers of the drivers.
“Combined with the fact that they are not recognised as employees, there are no platforms for recourse in the case of permanent exclusion from the electronic applications,” Vavi said.
He said e-hailing drivers faced the challenge of being accepted into the South African public transport system amid tension between taxis and metered taxis.
“Consequently, e-hailing drivers have been killed, beaten, injured and kidnapped in the conflict. Some areas have been declared no-go areas, where e-hailing drivers are barred from using violence. If they are spotted in such areas, they are often robbed of their cash. This conflict has also affected passengers,” Vavi said.
He added that the commission rates that the e-hailing companies offered were unfair.
“On top of this, they charge fees for every ride. Currently, Bolt charges a 25% trip commission and a 6% booking fee for every ride. Combined with elevated fuel prices, toll-road charges and car installments, the drivers are really taking peanuts home,” he said.
The Star reached out to both Bolt and Uber for comment on the matter, but there was no comment by the time of publication.