The Amalgamated Union of App-based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON) has announced that the strike it had previously announced for June 6, will begin as scheduled. The union’s general secretary, Comrade Ibrahim Ayoade, made this information public in a statement titled, “AUATWON Rejects Low Fares, Directs Workers to Shutdown App Services starting on Wednesday.” This comes after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria were restricted by the National Industrial Court from going on strike over the Nigerian government’s decision to eliminate fuel subsidies.
However, the union representing e-Hailing drivers, which is itself associated with the NLC, insists that its members are unwavering in their resolve. In its letter, AUATWON notes that the Nigerian government has been talking to the Nigeria Labour Congress about ending the country’s fuel subsidy and giving labour a voice in negotiations on behalf of its members. The union, on the other hand, asserts that app companies have consistently refused to offer a means for talks with the drivers, which has led to the continuance of the scheduled industrial action.
Union demands a documented agreement, despite the App companies’ refusal.
In response to these problems, AUATWON has taken it upon itself to advocate for the needs and rights of people who make a living through ride-hailing apps. He added that the App companies are in no way bigger than the government. Despite its authority, the country’s government was able to negotiate and reach formal agreements with the NLC and the TUC. So why would then app companies persist in their authoritarian stance. Since their terms and conditions are constantly evolving without consulting them, He said they must also negotiate with them and establish written agreements.
Moreso, the removal of fuel subsidies and the ensuing increase in prices served as the primary motivation for the strike when it first began. Because of the continued rise in the cost of fuel, it is becoming increasingly challenging for those who make their living through e-hailing to maintain their current standard of living. The NLC, which was meant to have their support, has come to a final decision with the government and has suspended the notice of strike immediately so that more deliberations can take place.
Drivers demand a 200% increase in fare fees and a 50% commission reduction.
Since these events have transpired, petrol prices have risen dramatically, and existing commission rates of 25% charged by the company have made the business unprofitable. The drivers are requesting a minimum increase in fares of 200%, a reduction in commission charges of 50%, an end to the unconscionable suspension of drivers who turned down to work because of the low fare and attendant unprofitability, along with the acknowledgement of AUATWON as the body that serves as the representative for their interests. These demands are being made in order to address the drivers’ concerns.
While urging e-hailing drivers to participate in the strike, the letter also addressed fleet managers, driver-partners, and app-based transport workers in the country, explaining that they must halt their services in the demonstration and that all drivers should be granted a moratorium or waiver on rentals or hire purchase. In order to safeguard their financial investments as fleet managers, their businesses as employees, and their employment as app drivers, they must adopt this united stand. They believe this will lead to a more successful and sustainable industry.
All e-hailing service drivers’ interests are represented in AUATWON.
In context, the Amalgamated Union of App-Based Transport Workers of Nigeria (AUATWON) is a trade union registered under the government and a member of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Its major purpose is to safeguard the employment opportunities, economic interests, and financial investments of workers in the ride-hailing industry. In its capacity as the voice of e-hailing drivers, delivery or courier riders, and all other workers in the internet transport industry in Nigeria, AUATWON plays an essential part in the fight to ensure that these individuals are provided with proper welfare.