GrabBike drivers slam on the brakes in Hanoi to strike against pay cut

By Anh Tu   August 15, 2017 | 03:26 am PT
GrabBike drivers slam on the brakes in Hanoi to strike against pay cut
GrabBike drivers in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Trang
Some drivers are trying to stall the ride-hailing app by making false bookings.

GrabBike drivers in Hanoi are encouraging each other to switch off the ride-hailing app in protest to a pay cut the company announced last weekend.

Some are even hijacking the service by making false bookings to make life difficult for both passengers and other drivers who have not joined the picket line.

Grab Vietnam has said starting September 5 it will deduct up to 20 percent of the fares that drivers receive from passengers instead of the current 15 percent.

“The new payment poses a serious problem for us because the current fares that Grab charges are already very low, and more and more people are applying to work as GrabBike drivers,” said a driver named Binh in Cau Giay District.

“The cost for fuel and phone cards is on us; the company does not cover those expenses,” he added, saying he and other disgruntled drivers have stopped working in the hope that the company would change its policy.

A driver named Nam who has not switched off his engine said the situation is affecting customers because they can't find a driver as easily and quickly as before.

“I received three false bookings yesterday and I think they all came from GrabBike drivers,” he said.

These bookings get canceled shortly before the drivers arrive, leaving real customers waiting and the drivers without a job.

“The 20 percent deduction is fine with me. I think I just need to work harder. This job is still better than others because I can control my own schedule,” he said.

Nam added that GrabBike fares have increased slightly recently.

On their online forum, some drivers are telling others to switch from Grab to U.S.-based Uber, currently the firm's only rival in Vietnam.

Malaysia's Grab Vietnam said the company has not decided what to do about the strike or the false bookings, and has just asked drivers to play by the company’s rules.

“Grab started applying the 20 percent fee for new GrabBike drivers in Ho Chi Minh City in early May, and we will do the same for all GrabBike drivers in HCMC and Hanoi from September 5,” said Nguyen Thi Thu An, media director of Grab Vietnam.

GrabBike drivers told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday that they used to earn from VND150,000 ($6.6) to VND350,000 each day, but with more drivers joining the company, they only make around VND100,000 now.

Several drivers told VnExpress International a similar story in June, saying they are earning less and less now that they are having to compete with fellow drivers in the same network. 

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