Hyderabad: Cab drivers union joins campaign against ‘unfair’ ID deactivation

Hyderabad: The Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT) joined a global campaign to stop ‘unfair’ (cab) driver ID deactivation on Wednesday. The campaign aims to highlight the arbitrariness of deactivation by multinationals like Uber, Ola, Swiggy and Zomato, it stated. App-based (cab)drivers are those who work for Uber and Ola companies.

Earlier this month, the International Alliance of App-Based Transport Workers (IAATW) launched a global petition against the ‘unfair’ ID deactivations as part of its year-long mobilization to end the sudden termination of (cab) driving privileges by app companies which constitute the single largest cause of precarity in the app-based transportation industry, IFAT added.

Shaik Salauddin from the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union (TGPWU) said “Every week we get an average of 25 to 30 cases of (cab) driver ID blockage by the companies. Most of the drivers have no idea why their ID is blocked and have nowhere to go to get it fixed… it’s a tension that we live with every day, every minute,” the union added.

Thousands of (cab) drivers in India and tens of thousands all across the world have been deactivated through algorithmic automation without any understanding of what caused it, Salauddin claimed.

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President of IAATW and executive council member, of the New York taxi workers alliance, Biju Mathew said, “Deactivation is just corporate doublespeak for firing (cab drivers) and before a worker can be fired the cause of fire and review to get the facts correct is important.”

He added that there is a need to establish a clear and unambiguous list of standards that trigger deactivation of cab driver IDs. “Then we need a clear and unambiguous standard of complaint, review and evaluation. Just cause and due process are fundamental rights that every worker must have”, Mathew added.

Salauddin, who is also the national general secretary of IFAT, said “”Just last week I was speaking with a (cab) driver whose ID was blocked 2 weeks after he had bought a new car for over Rs. 4 lakhs. How will he make his EMI payments now? Will his car get confiscated? How will he feel about his family? And what was his mistake? These are all questions for which we need answers from the companies and the government.”