Uber and Bolt drivers’ union suspends strike for 7 days

Ejike Kanife
In the wake of the recent fuel hike across the country, some e-hailing drivers in Lagos have lamented the reluctance of app companies to increase their fares

…urges drivers to ‘work with wisdom’

The Uber and Bolt drivers’ union in Nigeria, the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transportation Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON), has suspended a strike action after 5 days of boycotting the apps of the two ride-hailing companies. The suspension was announced in a letter signed by the General Secretary of the union, Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade.

In the letter, the union stated that the suspension of hostilities would last for seven days during which Uber and Bolt are expected to meet the drivers and deliberate on their demands.

The National President of AUATWON, Comrade Damola Adeniran has today called off the nationwide strike for a period of seven days during which the app companies are expected to do the needful. This decision was reached based on the promises made by the app companies to look into our demands and invite us for deliberations in the coming week through the Office of the Register of Trade Unions at the Ministry of Labour in Abuja.

AUATWON
Why Uber and Bolt drivers went on strike

Uber and Bolt drivers in Nigeria embarked on a strike last Wednesday demanding that the app companies increase their fares to reflect the current realities of fuel subsidy removal. The removal by Nigeria’s new president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu saw fuel prices skyrocket by up to 300% in some states in the country.

Uber and Bolt drivers union to commence strike Wednesday despite NLC suspension, vows to shut down hailing apps
Uber and Bolt drivers union boycotted the apps

Given the hike in the price of fuel which is a major and constant input for transport workers, the drivers expected the app companies to institute a new price regime which would reflect the reality and guarantee their earnings. While the app companies instituted fare increases ranging between 15%-25%, the drivers insisted they weren’t enough.

In response, they demanded a 200% increase in the fares, and that Uber and Bolt slashed their commissions to 10%. To drive home their demands, the drivers embarked on a strike, boycotting the apps of the two companies in the process.

Describing the 5-day strike as “one of its kind”, the National Administrative Council of the AUATWON urged its members to return to work, assuring them that if the companies reneged on their promise, the union would meet to decide a next line of action.

“We want to direct that effective immediately, our members are free to go back to their work. Further directives will be communicated in due time. Pending the resolution of the issues, especially price mechanism, our members are advised to employ wisdom while carrying out their jobs with the customers

AUATWON

It remains to be seen whether the ride-hailing companies would indeed honour the call for deliberations in an attempt to meet the drivers union’s demand. The two ride-hailing companies have always refused to recognise the registered and approved union, insisting that drivers do not have a right to form a union as they are not employees but rather independent contractors.


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