Cabbies strike IT firms hard

Cabbies strike IT firms hard

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, 23 July 2008, 12:51 Hrs
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Bangalore: The ongoing strike by call center cab drivers has affected employee schedules, business meetings and other daily activities of the IT firms in Electronic city, white field and other areas of Bangalore.

The strike that started Sunday night and will last till Tuesday noon, was called by call centre cab drivers to demand better work conditions, higher salaries, more rest and overtime allowance. Almost 35,000 to 40,000 of the 56,000 cabs that operate for IT-BT firms are on strike.

The spokesperson of a major IT company said on Monday: "We are taking employees home on our shuttle services. Most of them finish work early to be able to reach home early. Women in particular are forced to leave office early as safety has to be ensured."

"We have to go early from office because the shuttle services can�t drop employees at home, but at points from where they can walk. That means the drop has to be at a safe time. Naturally, we have to switch off early at office," he added.

President of the State Cab Drivers Association Nanjundaswamy said the drivers are overworked and underpaid. "We want proper remuneration. While transport contractors are asked to pay Rs 10,000 to drivers, they are actually paid only Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000. There is no overtime allowance, provident fund, ESI, paid leave, no access to medical services and no prescribed time of work. Travel agents treat drivers like bonded laborers," Nanjundaswamy said. He added the association wants adequate remuneration, rest, food facility, overtime allowance and fixed hours/shifts of work for its drivers.

"We also want accident insurance to be hiked to Rs 10 lakh for drivers. There should be strict action against police personnel who harass drivers," he said. An association member told TOI the cab drivers will restore services on Tuesday noon as the owners had relented.

"Our quarrel is not with IT companies, but cab owners and travel firms. They are paid to pay us, but they keep half the money. We won't tolerate this and the conditions under which they makes us work. If they don't meet our demands in 21 days, we will stop all vehicles from coming into the city. We will wait and see what the owners say," he said.

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