The 13-day-long taxi strike in the national capital, that had lost much of its steam, today ended following a meeting of Ola, Uber drivers with the Delhi government and company managements. The Sarvodaya Drivers' Association of Delhi (SDAD) that was leading the strike claimed that Ola has agreed to its demands, however, the management of the company refused to comment on the assertion.
Thousands of drivers working with the two taxi aggregators had gone on indefinite strike against "low" fares and "lacking" basic amenities their employers provide them. SDAD, which claims to represent 1.5 lakh drivers in Delhi-NCR, said it has called off its strike till February 27 as the app-based cab aggregators have sought time to resolve their issues.
The development comes after the Delhi government called a meeting with striking drivers and representatives ofUber and Ola. The meeting lasted for around four hours. SDAD vice-president Ravi Rathore said, "In the meeting, an Ola representative assured us of doing away with the DDD rule under which a penalty of Rs 500 is imposed on a driver if he refuses to ferry passenger.
Besides, the company has also agreed to increase fares from the existing Rs 6 per km." When asked about the company's response on the union's claims, Ola refused to comment. An Uber spokesperson said the company reiterated in the meeting that individual drivers can come to it at any time to raise concerns.
"We condemn the violent protests carried out by striking unions which not only harassed driver partners but also kept them away from earning an honest living," the spokesperson said.
Rathore said if the demands are not fulfilled by their employees by February 27, drivers will go on strike again. A senior government official said both the app-based aggregators have also invited the drivers to their office to discuss and resolve the issues peacefully. On its part, the Delhi government has assured the drivers of their welfare, particularly of those "harassed" without having been given an opportunity to be heard by the companies.
On the demand of removal of toll charges at borders, the government said it will take "sympathetic" view on it. The government will raise the issue with the municipal corporation.
According to a senior government official, the companies assured drivers' union to work on their demands shortly and will give their assurance to the High Court on February 28, cabs when it will hear drivers and the cab aggregators. Commuters in Delhi-NCR had to face hardship in cabs drivers of Ola and Uber had gone on indefinite strike infavour of their demands on February 10.
However, the strike seemed to be losing steam over thelast three days as most of striking union's members startedplying their cabs.