Nograles: Grab drivers' working hours 'slave-like'
MANILA, Philippines – PBA Partylist Representative Jericho Nograles accused ride-hailing company Grab Philippines of forcing its drivers to work in "slave-like" conditions.
In a statement on Thursday, June 7, Nograles said the ride-hailing company subjects its partner-drivers to unfair profit sharing mechanisms and "humanly impossible" quotas for incentives.
"With no financial and health risk, Grab is making a lot money, while the drivers who are working in slave-like conditions are left without any protection. To me, this is immoral and this is utterly wrong. This has to stop now and put Grab to the place where it really belongs," Nograles said.
Grab drivers who attended a consultation meeting with Nograles revealed that their take-home pay is only about P655 per day after working a minimum of 18 hours, the lawmaker said.
The average commission of Grab per day amounts to P600, he added.
Nograles had accused Grab of illegally charging its customers P2 per minute of travel on top of its government-approved pricing scheme. The charge has since been suspended. (READ: Did Grab 'illegally' charge its riders higher fare?)
The lawmaker said he would support the petition to implement fare changes if Grab Philippines foregoes of the 20% commission they charge from drivers, and to only take the P40 base fare per ride.
"I will definitely back up the driver's petition to implement the fair charges, on the condition that Grab Philippines forego any commission from this charge," Nograles said.
Reimpose P2 per minute
In a statement late Thursday, Grab Philippines head Brian Cu said: “No one among Grab parters is being forced to drive long hours. If the congressman is fair, he should also look into other transport sectors whose drivers work even longer hours earning less.”
"[I]n the spirit of fairness, we also urge him to enjoin all TNCs (transport network companies), which all have LTFRB-approved per-minute fare component in their fare structures, to forego their commissions, as he suggests," Cu said.
Grab earlier said the suspension of the charge led to fewer drivers, with only 35,000 drivers available for over 600,000 bookings a day.
Cu said Nograles' earlier accusation of illegal charges caused the drivers' income to "drop drastically."
"Nograles actually caused drivers' income to drop drastically when he questioned the legality of the P2 per minute fare component.... Without the P2, many drivers stopped driving, making commuting more difficult for the riding public," Cu said.
"Throughout the past months, he certainly has not been a constructive force in helping both drivers and the riding public," he added.
This is the latest move by the lawmaker in a bid to regulate Grab Philippines.
Grab still dominates the Philippine ride-hailing market after the exit of Uber last April.
The LTFRB recently approved 5 new companies that would challenge Grab, but most have yet to be operational in Metro Manila. (READ: How much are the fares of new ride-hailing apps?) – Rappler.com