A 24-hour strike enforced by Dhaka Ridesharing Drivers Union (DRDU) to press home their six-point demand including stopping police harassment is underway across the country.
The DRDU is observing the 24-hour strike from 12:01 am Tuesday.
No ride-sharing driver was seen on the streets of Kawran Bazar intersection, Bangla Motor, Shahbagh, Matsya Bhaban, Press Club and Paltan areas in the capital.
DRDU's demands are- to stop all forms of police harassment, recognise app-based riders as workers, fix commission at 10% for all types of rides instead of 25%, arrange parking space for ridesharing vehicles in Dhaka, Chattogram and Sylhet, keep the listed ridesharing vehicles exempted from Advanced Income Tax (AIT) under public transport and to return the AIT collected from the listed vehicle owners last year.
Besides, the organisation also formed a human chain in front of the National Press Club in the presence of over one thousand riders in the morning.
Belal Ahmed Khan, general secretary of DRDU, said that "We share a ride waiting in the sun and rain. We pay a 25% commission from our income, which is very excessive. But the regret is that so far we do not know whether the ride-sharing is a service or a trade?"
"Still, we are not considered as workers. The government has not been able to formulate policies for app-based ride-sharing in the last five years. As a result, we are being harassed and deprived of our due wages."
Ruhul Amin, acting president of the organisation, said that despite having four lakh workers, there is no worker union for riders. "For that, we did not receive any assistance or incentives in the last one and half years during the Covid-19 pandemic."
He further said, "We work for 14-16 hours, we need to depend on hand to mouth income. Besides, the apps are kept closed sometimes which makes us jobless."
They demanded to stop this type of harassment.
Kamal Ahmed, president of Sylhet Ride Sharing, said, "We demand that the government should make arrangements so that we can drive in a hassle-free environment."
"Many riders have bought their vehicles with loans from various NGOs and banks. We demand to reduce the commission to 10% from the existing 25 %," he added.