E-hailing drivers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transport Workers Union (AUATWON) have threatened to boycott Uber, Bolt and other hailing apps from August 2 as they join the NLC strike.
This is in solidarity with the Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigeria’s organized labour umbrella body to whom the AUATWON is affiliated. The NLC is embarking on an indefinite strike from Wednesday, August 2, in protest against the hardships and anti-poor policies of the Federal Government led by President Bola Tinubu.
Speaking in a chat with Technext, the General Secretary of AUATWON, Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade confirmed that drivers will be mobilized to abandon their apps for the duration of the strike and join the NLC strike and the planned protest by organised labour
“I attended the NEC of NLC meeting because AUATWON is an affiliate member. What was agreed upon is a two-day protest in which we will hit the streets of Nigeria. AUATWON would join the protests and our members would boycott the apps too.”Ibrahim Ayoade, AUATWON General Secretary
He further lamented the reluctance of app companies like Uber and Bolt to increase their fares or even accept a commission slash so as to enable drivers to earn good pay on the job. He said asides from the union’s affiliation with the NLC, these are the reasons why members will be joining the protest.
“Up until now app companies haven’t increased the fares. Even the one they increased previously, they have reduced it because of low customer patronage. Our members are going through a lot because of the exorbitant fuel price. Many have parked their vehicles and some who can’t raise money to repair their cars have sold them outright,” Comrade Ayoade said.
The planned NLC strike and protest
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) is mobilizing its members for a nationwide strike to protest the hardship that has been meted on Nigerians with the fuel subsidy removal by the government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The strike is scheduled to commence on Wednesday, August 2, while the rally is expected to take place at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, as well as other venues across the country.
In a statement, the Congress accused the Tinubu-led government of playing games with the lives of Nigerians and demanded that the government immediately reverses all “anti-poor policies.”
“There is nowhere in the world where government leaves its citizens totally to the vagaries of the market without some measure of control and protection. The Federal Government should immediately deal decisively with the criminal content of subsidy instead of exposing ordinary citizens to avoidable pain and hardship.NLC
“As a matter of national importance, it is imperative to fix all our refineries to be able to cater to domestic fuel consumption,” the NLC said.
Ahead of a meeting scheduled for Monday, the Congress is already mobilizing its affiliated trade unions. One such union is the AUATWON, whose members have been hard hit by the fuel subsidy removal regime. Following the first hike in fuel prices back in May, the Union embarked on a strike which lasted for nearly a week.
A further hike in July had seen many drivers and fleet owners groaning under the pain as many of them who spoke with Technext threatened to park their vehicles because the e-hailing business was no longer sustainable. The NLC strike is probably an opportunity for them to vent their frustrations.
“It is a very sorry situation we find ourselves but we will continue to fight until the industry is profitable for all,” the AUATWON General Secretary, Ibrahim Ayoade said.
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