Barely six months after it commenced its operations in Ibadan, a new ride-hailing company, stallion group, owners of Africar transport has been hitting with crisis following the protest staged by some of its employed staff as Drivers by the organization over the alleged breach of the provisions of the agreement entered into by the management with the drivers.
AfriCar which was launched by the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde precisely August 4, 2022 in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital is an online ride-hailing platform established to fill the gap of transportation in the African market.
Some of the drivers have consequently withdrawn their operations with the company.
The concerned drivers had in a letter addressed to the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde and the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Oyo State chapter dated 30th January, 2023, signed one Mr Ajadi Onibeji a copy of which was seen by Rulers World News Media, drew the attention of the Governor and NLC to the development in AfriCar.
The concerned drivers said they were constrained to write the letter to the governor to help look into their plight over the imposition of harsh working agreement by the management that will bring about untold hardship on them if allowed to stand.
Part of the letter reads: the above concern drivers hereby call on you, sir, to come to our aid concerning the new tariff being implemented on the drivers. The old agreement is based on salary (#60,000:00) monthly alongside the provision of fuel for the drivers.
The company now terminated and impose another agreement which we did not initially agreed to i.e. non fuelling of car, non payment of salary and also the Qute cars are now being given out as instalment to the drivers seven months after having been used and we are expected to be paying #7,500:00 per day for four and a half years which equivalent to #10,530,000:00. before it eventually becomes ours.
We are hereby pleading before you sir, to come to our aid in resolving the issue.” The letter read.
One of the affected drivers who spoke further with Rulers World on the crisis under anonymity said they thought the company had the good intention of creating jobs for them not knowing that they only wanted to enslave them with what he termed as ‘their unfriendly policy’ introduced to them.
According to him, “I am one of the drivers employed by AfriCar. When I started with them they were paying us #60,000 every month as salary. They were responsible for fuelling and maintainance of the car but we were given a target of making #8,000 per day. Out of the said #8,000, #2,000 was for fuel, #2,000 for workmanship while the remaining #4,000 was for the company.
However, we were surprised when they called us to a meeting and informed us that they wanted to enter into a new agreement with us and the new agreement was that they will give us the car on an instalmental payment for a whole four and half years period and during the period, they were expecting us to be paying #7,500 per day. Not only that, they also told us that they would no longer responsible for fuelling and maintainance of the cars anymore.
We were taken aback when we heard this from the management expecting us to be paying #7,500 per day for a car that has already been used for seven months which by calculation amounts to #10,530,000 after the four and a half years period.
Looking at the value of these cars even if they are new ones is between 2.6 million to 2.7 million naira not to talk of the ones that have depreciated in value having been used for seven months. This is the reason why we cry out to the Governor and the NYC to look into our plight in the hands of the management of Stallion Group, owner of Africar transport who are bent on subjecting us to untold hardship.” The driver lamented.
When contacted for his reaction, the Assistant City Head of the Company, Mr Okezie Earnest said, the issue was just blown out of proportion by the overzealous ones among them which he said are not up to one-quarter of the total number of the drivers.
He said: “The issue of their welfare is always given a priority by the Company and when they resorted to the Company later in the day, the matter has been resolved by our internal mechanism amicably. Thanks.”