NLC strike: e-hailing drivers to shut down Uber, Bolt, InDrive operations from Monday June 3

Ejike Kanife
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The Nigerian e-hailing drivers’ union, the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON) has directed its members to suspend their services in adherence to the NLC strike declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). This was contained in a circular titled: Suspension of Services Nationwide and signed by the president of the union, Comrade Adedamola Adeniran.

The circular emphasized the importance of adhering to the indefinite strike declared by the Labour Congress in protest against various economic policies by the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government. The purpose of the NLC strike, scheduled to commence on Monday, June 3, is to demand the implementation of a new minimum wage, the reversal of electricity tariff from N225/KwH back to N65/KwH, and the removal of band categories for electricity usage.

The AUATON circular reads:

This is to emphasize the importance of adhering to the recent directive from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) regarding the nationwide suspension of services. It is crucial that all branches, states, and regions fully comply with this directive in solidarity with the NLC’s call for a nationwide strike. I urge all our leaders to communicate this directive to your members and ensure that there is full compliance across all levels. Our strength lies in our unity and collective action. The NLC’s action is aimed at addressing critical issues affecting our workforce and ensuring that our collective voice is heard. By participating in this strike, we demonstrate our commitment to advocating for the rights and welfare of our workers.

NLC strike
NLC

We have instructed drivers to log off their apps

Similarly, the General Secretary of the union, Comrade Ayoade Ibrahim, in a chat with Technext, noted that as an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the union is mandated to get behind the strike action. He noted that executives of the union took part in the meeting where the indefinite strike was unanimously agreed upon. As such, drivers nationwide have been directed to log off their apps until the strike is called off.

Asked how the NLC strike would benefit its members, he pointed out that achieving the objectives of the strike would lead to more disposable income in the hands of Nigerians which would in turn lead to increased ride orders and other benefits.

Our union, operating in the informal sector, stands to benefit significantly from this action, including increased ride orders from customers, improved CNG availability, reduced fuel prices, and more. We have instructed our members to log off their apps and stay at home until further notice from the union. The current economic challenges in the country have made the strike imperative for our members’ well-being,” he said.

e-hailing companies to lose big due to NLC strike

This suspension order is coming at a most inopportune time for e-hailing companies as they are struggling to get rides on their platforms and increase revenues. This is because a considerable section of Nigerians have become increasingly less likely to pay for their services and would rather explore cheaper alternatives in the face of a harsh economic climate.

E-hailing Drivers' Week-Long Boycott: Uber/Bolt Lose Up to ₦50 million, 9,900 Drivers Comply and the Way Forward

But whatever revenue they have enjoyed might witness a drop from Monday with drivers shutting down the apps altogether and this would not bode well for companies already grappling with low revenues. A company like Bolt, for instance, has laid off staff for the second time in as many years. But unlike last year when mostly junior and mid-level staff were laid off, this year’s exercise affected senior members of staff.

See also: EXCLUSIVE: Bolt Nigeria lays off nearly half of its staff, says it’s part of a restructuring process

Citing that the layoffs were a result of biting economic realities facing the company, a source told Technext that “Fuel prices are high, and so is the cost of spare parts in the market. Ride prices can’t guarantee drivers enough earnings so this will likely lead to drivers pulling out. There are fewer and fewer completed trips as customers can no longer afford to pay for rides. The low purchasing power in the country, inflation and forex issues mean the business is likely tanking in Nigeria.”

Revenue-wise, the companies stand to lose hundreds of millions of naira depending on how long the strike lasts. Following a drivers boycott in 2021 to push for better welfare from the companies, Uber and Bolt lost more than N100 million in 7 days as about 10,000 drivers complied with the boycott order. One could expect the loss to be far worse this time, especially since the NLC strike is broader in scope.

See also: Uber and Bolt Lose About ₦100m Revenue as Nearly 10,000 Drivers Complied With Boycott Order


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