Online taxi drivers call for government recognition

The Digital Transport Forum Community has asked the government to move with speed and ensure that all drivers enjoy their labour rights that are inclusive of social protection.

The community has called on Ministry of Labour to include its members in the   National Social Security Fund (NSSF) as well as social health insurance by National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) as statutory beneficiaries like normal workers.

The forum’s Secretary General Wycliffe Alutalala while supporting his argument quoted the recent ruling by a United Kingdom (UK) supreme court that affirmed that Uber drivers are workers and not independent contractors.

“We call on the government to follow in the UK footsteps and give drivers their rights,” said Alutalala, adding that that drivers have suffered huge losses, lost family members because they couldn’t pay hospital bills, their cars have been auctioned and drivers have lost lives because of a lack of laws that protect them.

He asked Transport Cabinet Secretary (CS) James Macharia to fulfil the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that ended an 11-day strike by drivers saying that it promised fair and unbiased business models that are mutually beneficial to the community of drivers to be passed by  the  National Assembly.

Alutalala further urged the Senate and the National Assembly to fast track the process of legislation on the bill of drivers and vehicle owners’ position on the recent National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Technology Network companies (TNC) Rules 2020 in a bid to regulate the industry before April 2021.

He decried digital apps as their main oppressors saying that they are not investors as projected by the latter.

Digital Taxi Forum president John Kimani noted that if the government fails to comply with their request their only option will be to hold a peaceful demonstration or to ask their registered members to give a total blackout to the foreign app companies.

Mombasa Digital drivers representative Wilberforce Male who was present in the media brief held in Nairobi added that the cost of living is going up and prices for commodities in every industry is increasing except the transport industry where prices are going down every day.

“Even if the government turns a blind eye to our needs there is nothing we can’t do with unity,” said Male.


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