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Subsidy removal: App-based transport workers threaten indefinite strike

The Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON) has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike, over  failure of the app-based companies to negotiate and accede to its demands.

This is contained in a statement by Mr Jossy Olawale, Chairman, Media and Publicity of the union.

Olawale said that efforts to reach an agreement with the companies proved abortive in spite of a seven-working-day ultimatum issued on June 9, to allow for dialogue.

He said the union frowned at a 40 per cent fare increase made by the companies against the 200 per cent increase it asked for to cushion the effects of the increased fuel pump price of 300 per cent.

“The ultimatum issued was to suspend the strike and pave way for dialogue between the union and the app companies.

“This Tuesday, the seven-working-day ultimatum will elapse.

“However, the union feel so disappointed that none of these app companies listened to the genuine complains of app-based members or implemented even half of what the union members are demanding.

“Instead, some of the companies resulted in paltry implementing of less than 40 per cent respectively, even though the pump price of petrol has gone up by more than 300 per cent.

“Also, the companies are expecting drivers to fill the balance or subsidise the gaps with accumulated losses for the riders and their commission,” he said.

Olawale explained that one of the union’s demands was for the companies to reduce their earning commission by 50 per cent as a measure to reduce the burden of the increased fuel price on the drivers.

He said, however, the companies’ commission increased by 25 per cent.

“The union has written letters to the Federal Ministry of Labour, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Labour Congress and other relevant stakeholders to midwive a process of dialogue toward amicable resolution of the numerous challenge faced by app-based transport workers.

“We have chosen this option as law abiding citizens in the interest of numerous customers who largely depend on our services.

“We are hoping that the process will take place in the coming week and hopefully, will be productive for all and sundry,” he said.

He appealed to the government to prioritise members of app-based transport workers of Nigeria, as it makes efforts for relief plans to mitigate the effect of fuel subsidy removal.

He also said that the union wants a regulatory framework for the industry and a special grant or loan for car financing for its members.

“We are the most affected informal sector, whose operational costs depend solely on premium motor spirit (petrol).

“We are also calling on the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to immediately intervene in the process of acquiring Lagride, the condition of service and welfare of drivers, which in the union’s opinion have eroded the governor’s main intention of empowerment and job creation,” Olawale said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the union is demanding for a 200 per cent increase on fare trips, reduced companies’ commission by 50 per cent, profile riders adequately, among others.

Meanwhile, a call to the Senior Policy Manager, West and Central Africa, Bolt, proved abortive as she refused to comment on the issue.

She said, “I do not have the authority to speak, but you can send an email to [email protected].”

Similarly, a call and SMS sent to the Managing Director, Lagride, to get his reaction, was not responded to. (NAN)

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