Careem, Uber drivers protest against new tax, Hidden Charges


KARACHI: Scores of people associated with two ride-hailing services — Uber and Careem — staged a protest demonstration on Monday outside the Karachi Press Club against their management for reportedly reducing their share, exploiting their working hours and deducting a certain percentage in the name of tax.

Carrying placards and chanting slogans, the protesters demanded government intervention saying they feared the majority of them would lose their jobs.

The protest campaign, they said, was under way for almost a month when a group of drivers — better known as captains — convinced others to raise voice against what they called exploitation and illegal measures by the ride-hailing companies.

“It is so unfortunate that these companies gave attractive offers when they needed our tireless efforts to build their brand,” a protester who identified himself as Rashid Khan told media. “For two consecutive years we did everything to make Careem a brand.”

“We didn’t care about ourselves or our families. We knew only one thing that this is a new trend in Pakistan, which was welcomed both by the people and those associated with it like us and it should become a success story. But it became a success story and now the company decided to violate laws, suppress workers to earn more.”

A spokesperson for Careem, however, denied the charges and said that they were complaining without understanding the rules and regulations set by the company on the very first day.

“The tax was imposed by the Sindh government and not by the company,” said the spokesperson. “We held a number of rounds of talks with the authorities to convince them to withdraw [the tax] but they didn’t agree. We however succeeded in bringing it down to five per cent from the initially proposed 13pc. Similarly, the company never compromises on principles and one of them is the satisfaction of customers or rides. We block IDs only after receiving frequent complaints.”