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12.04.2021 news ALERT: Uber, Bolt Drivers Planning a Protest to Fight ‘Systemic Enslavement’

Published 12th Apr, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

Members of the Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owner Association (PEDPA), an umbrella body of Nigerian e-hailing drivers, are planning to embark on a protest followed by an industrial action against Uber and Bolt, starting from Monday, April 19.

The decision, according to PEDPA, is to fight systemic enslavement of Nigerian drivers by the two frontline online taxi hailing service providers in Nigeria.

The group laments that the companies have refused to embark on proper profiling and verification of drivers, thereby exposing them to serious security risk.

It also condemns the companies’ cold responses to killing and maiming of drivers on active duty.  

In a chat with FIJ, Idris Shonuga, the National President of the Association, said Uber and Bolt did not let drivers have a say over transport charges despite owning the cars and being responsible for fuelling and maintenance.

“We don’t even have contractual obligations to have a say on the price of our transport service,” he said. “It is only a slave that has no say in everything being thrown at him or her.”

The union said it wrote a letter to Uber and Bolt Nigeria Limited in September 2020, requesting a meeting to discuss the welfare of e-hailing drivers.

The companies’ failure to acknowledge the initial letter gave rise to the second one, in which the association threatened to organise a protest against the companies if they did not come up with an arrangement that would better the standard of living of e-hailing drivers in Nigeria.

“Consequently and in view of your nonchalant attitude, continuing abuse, unfriendly/inhuman treatment  and unjustifiable unilateral blockage of e-hailing drivers from your data base in Nigeria, we shall be compelled or left with no other option than to mobilize/organize our members for an embarrassing protest against your company should you fail to meet the leadership on or before the close of business on the 15th of April 2021 to fashion out more beneficial arrangement that will better the lives and standard of living of all e-hailing drivers in Nigeria,” the letter reads in part.

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Published 12th Apr, 2021

By Damilola Ayeni

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