Ride-hailing platforms making mobility easy for all, Uber and Bolt, are faced with a disdainful situation as drivers in Cape Town, South Africa have embarked on a two-day strike demanding for an increase in earnings.
The protest started on Wednesday, during which the drivers submitted a memorandum of their demand at Bolt’s office, continued on Thursday when the protesters dropped another memorandum at the office of Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
Beyond an increase in earnings, the drivers want an enhanced, quicker and more efficient process of renewing permits, as well as a moratorium on the impounding of vehicles. They seek safety in their jobs and want Uber to stop deactivating drivers.
Per Fin24, Siyabonga Hlabisa, Uber Union Chairperson, said the main concern of the drivers is for the commission to be reduced from 25% to 10%. Also, the platforms should consider increasing the per kilometer rate of payment or changing the payment model such that drivers receive R10 per kilometer.
Reports state that the higher cost of fuel had led Uber to increase its fares three times this year, the latest being July, and Bolt had hiked its fares by 20%.
The striking drivers have given both platforms 14 days to meet their demands while the companies affirm to be aware of their situation.
Per MyBroadband, Mpho Sebelebele, Head of communications for Uber in South Africa, said: “We recognise the pressures drivers are under, including the increasing cost of living.”
He further stated that it’s important to understand that fares do fluctuate as a normal part of any business based on various factors such as seasonality and the macroeconomic environment.
“Recently, we have seen driver earnings begin to recover in South Africa and we are constantly looking for ways of helping drivers increase their earnings on the platform while providing riders with more cost-effective options of moving around.”
On the part of Bolt, Takura Malaba, Country Manager for South Africa, affirmed the company’s interactions with the drivers and would ensure to put forward mechanisms to understand their resentments.
“Bolt respects every driver’s right to protest, and we appeal to drivers to do so legally, peacefully, and without impacting the rights of other drivers who choose to continue to operate and earn an income,” Malaba said.