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App-based drivers seek regulation of Uber, Bolt others in Lagos 

Drivers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of App-based Transporters of Nigeria (AUATON) have urged the Lagos State Government to adopt its collective agreement seeking the regulation of ride-hailing business in the State. 

The South-West zonal chairman of AUATON, Kolawole Aina, stated this in an interview, noting that the agreement aims to ensure that its members would be regulated and have their welfare well taken care of. 

The drivers’ call for intervention suggests that the policies of platforms like Uber, Bolt, and InDrive, among others, have not been favourable to them.

According to Aina, the document put together for the state is seeking to, among others, address low pricing, high commission, and the activation and deactivation of drivers at will by app-based companies. 

The agreement accepted at the federal level 

While noting that before the creation of the union in 2023, there had been a series of agitations among various groups of drivers, with many app-based companies alleging maltreatment, the AUATON executive said: 

“As a union, we saw the problems, created solutions and presented the solutions to government. It was accepted by the federal ministries of transport and labour, but the Lagos State government did not give us a listening ear. 

“The document, which we call the collective agreement, is about how the government, app-based companies, drivers, and riders can have a fair share of responsibilities in the industry. 

“It will be a system where each ride can be monitored by all the four communities, and each community can mutually benefit.” 

Insurance and security 

As part of the propositions to the government, the drivers are also seeking mandatory insurance and provision of security for their members.  

“The issues of insurance and security have become very important. I cannot remember the number of drivers that have died on the job this year alone or lost properties to their customers or riders,” Aina said. 

He regretted that the association’s deputy president died of fatigue inside his car this year, also noting that “Criminally-minded customers, sometimes, order rides, and during the ride, they kill the driver and steal the car and sell it.” 

“This is where insurance comes in. All trips will be insured; the driver, riders, property in the cars and the car itself will be insured,” said Aina. 

He decried algorithm management instead of human management in app-based companies, saying that machines are making decisions that humans should make.  

What you should know 

  • AUATON is a registered trade union under the Ministry of Labour and Employment and an affiliate member of the Nigeria Labour Congress. 
  • Its members include e-hailing or online transport drivers, app-based bike and bicycle food delivery and courier delivery workers (dispatch), app-based bike passenger workers, and app-based bus passenger workers in the online sub-sector of Nigeria’s transport industry. 
  • The drivers became unionised last year when the federal government through a letter from the Trade Union Services, and Industrial Relations Department of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment approved the registration of the Union. 
  • According to its founding Secretary-General, Ibrahim Ayoade, the struggle to unionize app-based drivers started in 2016 when Uber slashed the income of drivers to 40% without consulting them or even informing them about it. 

Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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