Digital taxi drivers in Kenya are seeking to be recognized as employees rather than contractual workers. The move has been inspired by the recent UK court ruling that granted Uber drivers employee benefits after a prolonged dispute with the ride-hailing company.
The Kenyan drivers are demanding for better pay, statutory benefits such as NSSF and NHIF, and compensation for work-related injuries. Additionally, the workers are also pushing the government to regulate the industry in order to protect the drivers’ rights.
The digital taxi industry in Kenya is largely unregulated, a factor that has left drivers vulnerable to exploitation by well-established ride-hailing apps. According to the leader of the Digital Taxi Forum John Kimani, the lack of rules is hurting drivers. Some have had their cars auctioned and others are fatigued from the long working hours.
Uber and other ride-hailing firms in Kenya have resisted the push from drivers for higher pay, saying that the move would add to their expenses and force them out of business. However, the UK ruling is expected to result in increased benefits and better working conditions for Uber drivers around the world.