They also want lower commissions for ride-sharing companies
The App-based Drivers’ Union of Bangladesh on Tuesday called for an end to police harassment and the recognition of ride-sharing drivers as workers in a six-point demand placed during a human chain at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
The six-point demand also includes calls for 10% commission from drivers for ride-sharing companies on all types of vehicles; providing parking spaces for ride sharing vehicles in Dhaka, Chittagong, and Sylhet; exempting ride-sharing vehicles from the advance income tax on public transport; and the return of advance income tax taken from ride-sharing drivers in the last year.
Drivers at the human chain said they were currently losing more than 25% of their income as commission to ride-sharing companies.
The organizers said the movement to press home the six-point demand was not only being held in Bangladesh, but also in several European countries. App-based Drivers Career Union in London has already announced programs.
Earlier on Monday morning, a driver set fire to his motorcycle in the Badda area of Dhaka when a traffic policeman took away his driver’s license.
A video of the incident went viral on social media, and several ride-sharing drivers’ associations called strikes on Tuesday.
Mobarak Hossain, a ride sharing driver, said: “Police harassment must be stopped soon, this is unacceptable. We have families to feed at the end day, like everyone else.”
Many people who lost their jobs during the pandemic turned to ride-sharing to make an income, he added.
Other drivers echoes that they live in constant fear of police harassment.
Belal Ahmed, general secretary of DRDU, said the Badda incident was tragic.
"We are being harassed everywhere," he said.
One of the drivers said: “The news on TV is not right. I am not angry with the police; I am angry with the companies who take unethically large commissions.”
Dhaka Ride Sharing Drivers Union, Sammilita Riders of Chittagong and Ride Sharing Group all took part in the protests along with the App-based Drivers’ Union of Bangladesh.