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MAT union writes to Thane police for support

Grateful for the police action, the union now prepares to approach government and company authorities

Sabrangindia 04 Jun 2022

MAT

Private cab-driver union Maharashtra App-based Transport Workers’ Union (MAT) wrote a letter on June 2, 2022 to Thane police seeking support in intimating Ola company about the dire need of a security code.

Addressed to Kalwa division Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Venkat Andhale the letter said, “We urge that you and your department Sir initiate a communication with the Ola company to hold them legally liable and responsible for this heinous crime that was committed on a lonely road on an Ola driver, while on duty.”

By crime, MAT President Prashant Sawardekar referred to the May 29 incident wherein 27-year old Muhammad Ali was brutally killed on-duty at a remote road in Diva. Four adults and one minor boy were arrested on May 30, 2022 for the alleged murder. According to the Daighar police, the accused Atish Bhosale, Omkar Kasekar, Harshul Sheikh, Prashant Periaswami and one minor were in an inebriated state when they attacked the 27-year-old driver.

While the union thanked the Thane police for prompt action, it also appealed for support for MAT’s longstanding demand for drivers’ security. Additionally, the union asked for a careful mapping of remote and uninhabited stretches of roads such as that in Diva under Andhale’s jurisdiction. Proper street lighting, CCTC cameras and police kiosks are also required.

“Specifically, we wish to bring to your attention the deplorable, illegal and mala fide practice of the Ola company in trying to ‘flash’ the driver’s records the moment such an incident takes place,” said Sawardekar.

What is flashing?

Flashing is when the company deletes ride-details and the number of rides taken up by an employee. Doing so often leaves a blank record on driver performances and can lead to some people getting blacklisted. In Muhammad Ali’s case as well, the driver’s records were flashed even though the youth had taken up 3-4 rides that day. The union successfully got a record of his work before it was flashed.

A day after the incident, MAT leaders approached Andhale and discussed this tactic by cab companies, be it Ola or Uber. Leaders said companies do this to claim that the person was not working for the company when a certain incident occurred. This also affects employee compensation.

“We are appealing to you to communicate to the Ola company that this is the case of a gruesome murder committed on a driver of a company while on duty. The company functions because of the drivers it employs and is liable in law and practice to step in and pay reparation for drivers who lose their lives, or face accidents or damage, on duty,” he said.

Further, previous attempts to talk to the Ola company for social security and accountability proved unsuccessful. Earlier, Mumbra driver Asif died in an accident in Andheri. The MAT union provided the required documents to the company, however, the family is yet to receive the insurance. This process became harder after Covid-19 since the company closed its offices in Mumbai.

“In terms of security of the Ola-Uber taxi service—for members of the public and drivers alike – while the company has an available mechanism of an SOS number for passengers, the SOS facility for drivers has been rendered unworkable. This has further endangered the lives and operational functioning of our drivers,” he said.

The MAT said that members will soon approach the labour department and other government authorities as well with a sustained campaign calling for a security code of drivers in general.

Related:

Cab drivers demand safety security code from Ola

Diva police arrests 5 for murder of Ola-driver, protests follow

A Labour Day befitting India's Constitution

Fuel hike protests to hit Mumbai!

MAT union writes to Thane police for support

Grateful for the police action, the union now prepares to approach government and company authorities

MAT

Private cab-driver union Maharashtra App-based Transport Workers’ Union (MAT) wrote a letter on June 2, 2022 to Thane police seeking support in intimating Ola company about the dire need of a security code.

Addressed to Kalwa division Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Venkat Andhale the letter said, “We urge that you and your department Sir initiate a communication with the Ola company to hold them legally liable and responsible for this heinous crime that was committed on a lonely road on an Ola driver, while on duty.”

By crime, MAT President Prashant Sawardekar referred to the May 29 incident wherein 27-year old Muhammad Ali was brutally killed on-duty at a remote road in Diva. Four adults and one minor boy were arrested on May 30, 2022 for the alleged murder. According to the Daighar police, the accused Atish Bhosale, Omkar Kasekar, Harshul Sheikh, Prashant Periaswami and one minor were in an inebriated state when they attacked the 27-year-old driver.

While the union thanked the Thane police for prompt action, it also appealed for support for MAT’s longstanding demand for drivers’ security. Additionally, the union asked for a careful mapping of remote and uninhabited stretches of roads such as that in Diva under Andhale’s jurisdiction. Proper street lighting, CCTC cameras and police kiosks are also required.

“Specifically, we wish to bring to your attention the deplorable, illegal and mala fide practice of the Ola company in trying to ‘flash’ the driver’s records the moment such an incident takes place,” said Sawardekar.

What is flashing?

Flashing is when the company deletes ride-details and the number of rides taken up by an employee. Doing so often leaves a blank record on driver performances and can lead to some people getting blacklisted. In Muhammad Ali’s case as well, the driver’s records were flashed even though the youth had taken up 3-4 rides that day. The union successfully got a record of his work before it was flashed.

A day after the incident, MAT leaders approached Andhale and discussed this tactic by cab companies, be it Ola or Uber. Leaders said companies do this to claim that the person was not working for the company when a certain incident occurred. This also affects employee compensation.

“We are appealing to you to communicate to the Ola company that this is the case of a gruesome murder committed on a driver of a company while on duty. The company functions because of the drivers it employs and is liable in law and practice to step in and pay reparation for drivers who lose their lives, or face accidents or damage, on duty,” he said.

Further, previous attempts to talk to the Ola company for social security and accountability proved unsuccessful. Earlier, Mumbra driver Asif died in an accident in Andheri. The MAT union provided the required documents to the company, however, the family is yet to receive the insurance. This process became harder after Covid-19 since the company closed its offices in Mumbai.

“In terms of security of the Ola-Uber taxi service—for members of the public and drivers alike – while the company has an available mechanism of an SOS number for passengers, the SOS facility for drivers has been rendered unworkable. This has further endangered the lives and operational functioning of our drivers,” he said.

The MAT said that members will soon approach the labour department and other government authorities as well with a sustained campaign calling for a security code of drivers in general.

Related:

Cab drivers demand safety security code from Ola

Diva police arrests 5 for murder of Ola-driver, protests follow

A Labour Day befitting India's Constitution

Fuel hike protests to hit Mumbai!

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