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'We are not slaves': Qatar's Uber begin strike

The drivers say that recent changes made by Uber are affecting their earnings [Getty]

Date of publication: 13 February, 2017

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Hundreds of Uber drivers in Qatar began a strike on Sunday by refusing to open the app that connects them with potential passengers to protest changes in fare policies.

Hundreds of Uber drivers in Qatar began a strike on Sunday to protest changes in fare policies, local media reported.

According to Doha News, the drivers participating in the strike said they would shut off the taxi app en-masse, which would lead to a price surge as demand for their services outpaces supply.

"We drivers are not at all happy working with Uber, as it is very difficult to manage our expenses with low fare & high cost of living," the drivers said in a statement to Doha News.

"Every month, fuel prices (are) going up and it (is) directly affecting our daily expenditure budget," they added.

"We are not slaves."

The drivers say that recent changes made by Uber are affecting their earnings.

In November, Uber introduced a service that slashed prices by up to 25 percent for pickups in smaller, older cars.

At the time, drivers working under UberGo complained that they needed to make more trips to earn the same money they were making before.

Last month, the company introduced a new pricing policy called "upfront fares", which helps clients budget better and saves them from "surprises or complicated math," Uber said on its website.

However, drivers complained that the service did not take into account heavy traffic or any stops the customer asks them to make en-route to their final destination.

They also complained that Uber now accepts cash payments, in addition to the previous option of paying via credit card through the app.

We drivers are not at all happy working with Uber, as it is very difficult to manage our expenses with low fare & high cost of living.

In many instances, customers would run away after the ride or ask to get money from an ATM, never coming back.

"If we make complaint, Uber will not do anything but at the same time they deduct 25 percent commission from our account for this unpaid trip also," the drivers said.

They added, "Careem, the other online taxi provider, they always give money to us for unpaid rides."

This is the second time in less than a year that drivers are refusing to pick up passengers to protest their working conditions.

The drivers went on strike in April last year, refusing to open the app that connects them with potential passengers.

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