Cab aggregator unions form national federation

Move will help coordination while fighting on issues related to drivers

December 22, 2019 01:51 am | Updated 01:51 am IST - Ajeet Mahale

Together: Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir addressing a meeting of Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers in Mumbai on Saturday.

Together: Shiv Sena leader Sachin Ahir addressing a meeting of Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers in Mumbai on Saturday.

Several unions representing drivers of app-based cab aggregators formed an all-India association on Saturday with the aim of increasing their lobbying power at a national level and to improve coordination while fighting on issues related to drivers across the country.

The Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT) will comprise unions and associations from nine of the country’s cities including the Maharashtra Rajya Rashtriya Kamgar Sangh (MRRKS) in Mumbai. The MRRKS facilitated the founding conference along with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).

Union leaders from Delhi NCR, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, Lucknow and Bhopal spoke at the meeting highlighting the local issues they faced. Almost 16 unions from Telangana were also present under the banner of the recently formed Joint Action Committee. Their chairman Shaik Salauddin narrated their process of forming a federation and the success of their first action in October when 50,000 cars went offline. The national issues that the associations decided to fight include a floor price of ₹22 per km, a welfare board for drivers, capping the registration of all commercial vehicles for taxis and an insurance cover of ₹10 lakh in case of an accident.

Shiv Sena leader and president of the MRRKS, Sachin Ahir, said it was crucial for the federation to hold meetings in other cities and grow and consolidate their position nationally. “There will be a common minimum programme on which all the unions will agree to and the demands can then be put to the Centre. We should aim to have some form of nationwide action around the time of parliament to put forth our demands,” he said.

Biju Matthew from the National Taxi Alliance in the United States also addressed the meeting citing a series of victories they had achieved against app-based cab aggregators in the U.S. These included a freeze on total car registration in New York and a guaranteed income of $17.51 per hour for drivers in the city. “The real struggle is over the right to data. Our struggle is not against technology, but against the system,” he said.

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