Uber, Ola drivers strike in India for higher pay

FILE PHOTO: A note is pasted on a rear window of a car during a protest by Uber and Ola drivers, in New Delhi, India, February 14, 2017. The note reads “Ola and Uber it is Strike”. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Drivers for app-based cab aggregators Uber and Ola started an indefinite strike across India on Monday, demanding extra pay as a surge in the number of cabs on the two platforms, coupled with cutbacks in incentive payments, have stung drivers.

The strike, which began at midnight on Sunday, centred on the financial centre of Mumbai and was called by political party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s transport union.

Drivers in other cities like the capital New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune among others would also take part, party leaders said over the weekend.

“Drivers are in huge debt, but the firms are favouring those driving company-owned vehicles,” Sanjay Naik, president of the MNS transport wing told a press conference on Saturday.

Drivers were making a fraction of what was promised to them when they partnered with the companies, he added.

Uber was not immediately reachable for comment, while Ola’s spokesman said it was too early in the day to measure the impact of the strike.

Several commuters complained of long waits and surge fares due to a dearth in cabs on the road.

Reporting by Swati Bhat; Editing by Stephen Coates