Dhaka: The app-based drivers’ union of Bangladesh has demanded six points including ending police harassment and recognizing ride-sharing drivers as workers, on Tuesday at the National Press Club.
Earlier On Monday morning, a driver set fire to his motorcycle with petrol in the Badda area of the capital after getting angry with the traffic police. The matter has drawn criticism widely over social media. Later, ride-sharing drivers associations jointly called for a strike.
However, the organizers say, this is not just a movement in Bangladesh. The app-based Drivers Career Union in London has announced the program. Apart from Bangladesh, this program is being observed in different countries of Europe.
Riders at the human chain said that app-based ride-sharing companies are taking away more than 25 % of the money as commission.
The activists in the human chain raised 6 demands. This includes recognizing app-dependent drivers as workers. Set 10% on all types of rides, providing parking space for ride-sharing vehicles in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet. Stopping all forms of police harassment, keep enlisted ride-sharing vehicles exempt from advance income tax (AIT) on public transport, and return to AIT enlisted vehicle owners taken last year.
Mobarak Hossain, a ride-sharing driver, said: “This is unacceptable, harassment must be stopped soon. We have a family to feed at the end of the day like others,”
Amid pandemic, many have lost their job and business and chosen ride sharing to earn money, he added.
Shipon Hossain, another driver said, “This is a peaceful demand, yesterday event was horrifying. This should not be repeated. And companies must stop commission discrimination,”
Although seeking anonymity a DRDU convenor said,” I always remain in fear that, anytime traffic police in the name of documents verifying they may harass me”
Citing about parking issue he said, whenever they see us standing somewhere, the traffic police imposes awkwardly.
Belal Ahmed, general secretary of DRDU, said the Badda incident was tragic. A driver set fire to his motorcycle for harassment. If such incidents do not move the police, will their conscience be moved if they commit suicide? ”
“We are being harassed everywhere,” he said.
Shawkat Ali, the driver who went viral on social media by setting fire to his motorcycle, said, ‘My anger is not on the police but on the Ride Ride-sharing app. They take most of the money we make using the app. That’s why I got angry with the app and burned the motorcycle. ‘
He told media that as he was leaving the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Gulshan division of the capital at around 9 pm on Monday night.
The furious rider further said, ‘The news on TV is not right. I am not angry with the police.
Dhaka Ride-Sharing Drivers Union, Sammilita Riders of Chittagong, and Ride Sharing Group are united in the strike and human chain program.